Finding the Words: A look at Eastern University’s black- out poetry contest.

Blackout poetry stems from found poetry in which the artist blacks out words, usually with a black marker, in other forms of art. This could be newspapers, magazines, books or any other writing. By blacking out words, a redacted poem is formed.

When thinking of poetry, this typically isn’t the first type of poem that comes to mind. According to the Offbeat Poet, blackout poetry or redacted poetry was invented in the 18th century but was only made popular recently by Austin Kleon’s “Newspaper Blackout.”

Blackout poetry is not only a fun way to create new works of art, it is also very relaxing. In the spring of 2019, I attended a blackout poetry meeting with Inklings Literary Magazine. I took a page from an old newspaper and used black paint, covering words to give light to others. When I was finished, I wrote a poem.

I’ve never been good at writing poetry. I don’t really understand meter or iambic pentameter, but with redacted poetry, I didn’t really need to. I created a poem that I was proud, even if it wasn’t a great piece of work. It allowed me to express pent up emotions that I couldn’t find the words for.

From March 29 to April 18, the Warner Memorial Library and Inklings will be co-sponsoring a blackout poetry contest for students to partake in. This virtual contest has a QR code that can be scanned for students to submit their blackout poems.

The library has a number of books available for students to use to create their poems as well as crayons, markers, pastels, colored pencils, glue and scissors. This is not only a fun, new event for Eastern students, it is also a great way to relieve the stress of this semester and year.

Students can go to the library for more information or send an email to

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