Tag Archives: black out poetry

The After Analysis Is Fading – A Blackout/Mashup Poem

Just before Christmas my writing co-conspirator sent me a mash up of two pages (and stupid me forgot to take a ‘before’ picture) and let me loose to see what I would do with it.

The left hand page is the front page of the New York Times, the day after the moon landing. The right hand page is a diary entry.

I turned it into a blackout/erasure poem and reproduced it below with some changes to punctuation.


The After Analysis Is Fading

to have to go
a half degree
angle it and take a swing
without threatening the surreal
earth. There is no time to
heartbeats told of a religious space
the time to see each other
but isn’t now
and I agree.
command, kiss his cheek, and
informed it’s not tentative
his arms
replied. not actually going to let me go.
the unsaid stuff in 
degrees in the sunlight. We let each other
degrees below zero, short enough to stop it becoming
a blanket, more like floating and less
I see his light, he’s 
higher, put the window down
this landing in the 
after analysis is fading
flying through the 
equator, the beautiful buzz
reduces the messenger
the moon


First To A Hundred – A Blackout Poem

The short story, First To A Hundred, by Jodi Cleghorn, appeared in Issue 8 of Tincture Journal. After writing Post Marked: Piper’s Reach together, and after many times making Jodi cry, she had not succeeded in making me reach for a box of tissues to wipe away the tears.

But she did it with this story.

I read early versions and drafts, and it languished for ages without finding a publication until Daniel Young of Tincture took it on.

I strongly recommend you go and buy a copy of Tincture and read the story as it is so beautiful. Then drop in here to read this version. As I was creating it, the voice of Dougie came through, almost unconsciously. It wasn’t until I was half way through that I heard the voice more clearly and channelled it for the remainder.

It’s a long story, but well worth the read.

Below is the poem. You will need to read it as a two-panel cartoon (L-R) then down the page.









image image image image




When In Doubt, Write Poetry By Erasing Words

Diving back into the classics for more blackout poetry.

You’ll find my first two attempts here (Moby Dick – Herman Melville) and here (Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad)

I have taken the first page of a range of texts and used the tone and ideas to create something new.


from Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (click image to enlarge)


Who I Am

from The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (click image to enlarge)


What Your Mind Has Made 

from The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde (click image to enlarge)



A New Situation for Families

from Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (click image to enlarge)







Like Ivy

from The Strange Case of Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson (click image to enlarge)


Blackout Poetry – Another Questionable Attempt



Between us
the bond of
periods of separation
a box of dominoes
the anchor
we did not begin that game of
placid staring
The day 
was a benign unstained
Only the 
somber minute
angered by the
curved and imperceptible
a change
more profound
unruffled dignity
that comes and departs in the
abiding memories. Indeed nothing’s
than to evoke
its unceasing

After yesterday’s modicum of success with blackout poetry, I tried my hand at another (need to do something creative at the moment while I get my head back into shape to tackle some significant writing projects in January).

This page comes from Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” I studied this text in high school last century and thoroughly enjoyed it. Admitting at the time I didn’t quite understand the colonialism and inherent racism, it still holds as a powerful metaphor. Tie it with Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” and you have a teenager’s existential orgasm. 

So, with that in mind, I wanted explored the idea of relationships through the text.

It’s a diversion from writing Post It Note Poetry (and a couple of other major works in progress) but I posit that flogging someone else’s idea to pursue something creative is better than nothing. Blackout, or erasure, poetry makes you look at words, their order and the meaning created. It opens your mind to see other possibilities, limited as it is by the choice of text, to create something new.

I encourage you to try it yourself. Or buy a colouring book and pencils. Do something to stimulate your brain. 

Blackout Poetry – An Attempt of Questionable Merit



I have loved Austin Kleon’s work (@austinkleon) and I own his book, Steal Like An Artist (It’s fabulous. Get a copy). I follow his tumblr and love reading his work.

So I decided to give it a go. Armed with my iPad, a digital copy of Moby Dick and Notability, I ripped into the first page of Herman Melville’s tome. 

What does it mean? I. Have. Absolutely. No. Idea. I like how it sounds. And I’ll be adding this to the collection of poems I have on tumblr (even if it’s not a Post It Note).