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Stuff for the Teen Age, Poetry Month

Celebrate Poetry All Year: Poetry Collage and Blackout Poetry


Though National Poetry Month is coming to an end, you can continue to celebrate all year long! You don't have to read poetry to celebrate; you can create it instead.

Last week I filled in at our weekly Teen Advisory Group (TAG) meeting. We made poetry collage and created black out poems. For both projects, I provided magazines, card stock, textured paper, scissors, markers, and glue. I tried to find magazines with large blocks of text, interesting images, and bright colors. I provided an example of poetry through collage (below; work in progress), but advised that there is no single method or process to follow. We created several collages that afternoon and many poems (bottom of post), which were read aloud.

Example of poetry through collage: I wish I could quit you! Its not me, its you.


I have always enjoyed collage as a personal hobby. It allows for creativity and self-expression. There is no wrong or right way; in fact, you may even begin to notice that you have a personal style once you have created a few pieces of your own. The key is to begin with an open mind. 

I usually page through several magazines and tear out pages with images that catch my eye. Once I have amassed a decent pile, I then take some time and cut out individual images. Keep in mind, that all of the images may not be used, but they can be saved for another project. Often, I work on more than one collage simultaneously. Themes evolve as the piece evolves; though there are times that I focus on a central idea with a certain outcome in mind. I then arrange the images; when I find a satisfactory layout, I glue them down one by one. A spray adhesive is also useful during this step because it allows for the images to be rearranged several times without disturbing the overall layout. If you like, a clear coating of Mod Podge or a mixture of water and glue can be spread over the collage in order to preserve your work.

Blackout poetry is created by "blacking out" words in lines of text. The remaining words form the poem. Newspapers columns, pages of old books, and any typed or handwritten block of text can be used. The content and subject of the text will not affect the resulting poem. Though, some text, such as scientific articles could pose a slight challenge. Some blackout poets create pictures or images within their poems. Author and artist Austin Kleon, whose blog shined a spotlight on the art form, published an entire book of blackout poetry, entitled Newspaper Blackout.

One of my favorite things about blackout poetry is that you don't need to be a poet or a writer to to create beautiful and even meaningful verses. This project can be useful in encouraging reluctant writers and to introduce poetry to children and teens. Here are three of the blackout poems (with transcriptions) that were produced that afternoon:

not so far
the tempo is slow,
pink roses
wide eyed and
awake dream.
is reality
at the heart
As far as we can see
mesmerized- fascinated


Hell, its's complicated
more than a dozen

milestones should
guarantee access to exclusive
member. Even act of getting
official conformation
made me panic.






Why? I'm not sure.
was my dream so I went to
college a life a career
as the years
have passed, it's become clear that my
personality isn't necessarily simpatico
I'm excessively irritated
a pain and
I can't imagine living
I can't say that I'm die hard
I've never lived

Books and websites

These may inspire you to create some of your own poetry collages or blackout poetry:


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