Falling into Blackout Poetry Printing

A photo of one of two prints of my blackout poem that I made during our lab. Photo taken by me.

Blackout poetry is a writing form that I’ve done many times before on numerous occasions, something that I’ve grown used to doing over and over again. To me, it’s always the same old idea every single time: find a piece of writing, like a song, an old book, or a script of some kind, and then strike out lines in order to create a new poem. Although it can sometimes be a bit difficult to pick out the piece to blackout, I’ve grown familiar with the process; despite the fact that you can make a new poem with every new piece of writing to be found, I’ve begun to find it rather boring. Creating blackout poetry no longer feels like a challenge, and I miss the drive to push myself and try to make something completely new (It all starts to feel the same after some time).

Luckily, I had the opportunity to craft blackout poetry in a totally new way: printing. 

As soon as I was given the assignment, I figured this would be the same old process with a few extra steps for flair, but I had no idea how difficult creating the piece would truly be. 

A photo of one of two prints of my blackout poem that I made during our lab. Photo taken by me.

To begin, I chose a song that I’d been listening to for the past few weeks, and a song that had a lot of interesting lyrics, to create the poetry, blacking out whatever words I didn’t want. I did as we were tasked, printing out my poem, scanning it, adding a few details for fun, and then scanning the paper once more. When I had what I believed to be the “finished product”, I brought my paper to the studio and readied myself to create another simple, yet colorful, piece of poetry. 

For some reason, I hadn’t prepared myself for how sticky and intricate the process would be. 

I had to be extremely delicate when working with the page, and I had to have just the right amount of corn syrup to water to ensure the ink stuck to the paper correctly, and to not have too much or else it would all fall apart. If even one part of the process went awry, my print wouldn’t turn out right. 

To learn more about blackout poetry, click here, and to listen to the song I used for my poem, click here!

1 thought on “Falling into Blackout Poetry Printing”

  1. I’m really glad that you could try out something you know so well in a new way. Even when, and I feel the same on this, the printing took may more careful steps than I had thought it would. Plus it was a LOT stickier.
    Also, great song choice, I’ve been slowly listening to Lovejoy’s new album. It seems really cool so far but the lyrics are a bit harder to understand/hear for me.


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