Poetry Challenge Week Four: Blackout Poems

 It’s week FOUR of the Weekly Poetry Challenge, and this week is all about blackout poems! A blackout poem is created by taking a block of text—like from a newspaper, magazine, or book—and “blacking out” everything except the words you want. Here’s a blackout poem I wrote: Created using the book MAKE BLACKOUT POETRY by John Carroll Read some black out poems! Here are some blackout poems by author Austin Kleon . Examples of student-created blackout poems . Check out this Pinterest board for more examples. Write a black out poem! When creating your blackout poem, you may to start with a pencil and circle or block around the words you want to keep for your poem. Then, once you’re happy with your poem use a sharpie to black out everything you don’t want. Blackout poetry is a great visual, but you can also type out your poem when you’re done to make it easier to read. Need a little help? Here’s a video by Austin Kleon on how he makes blackout poetry. If you or your kids write blackout poem

Poetry Challenge Week One: Write a List Poem

Happy National Poetry Month! We have a month-long celebration of Poetry planned, and just for April you can expect to hear from us twice a week—on Mondays for a weekly challenge, and on Wednesdays for a special poetry post. We hope you’ll stick around for the fun!

Today begins the second annual Read, Discuss, Do! Poetry Challenge, during which we challenge our readers to read, discuss, and write different forms of poetry! We are kicking the fun off this week with a challenge to write a list poem. Why a list poem? Because list poems are a fun, low-pressure way to try your hand at poetry.

List poems often rhyme, but they don’t have to. They can be long or short. They sometimes begin with an introduction and end with a punchline or some kind of resolution, especially in humorous poems like in the example below:

Yard Sale

I’ve set a sale up in my yard,
but selling things is rather hard.
It seems that no one wants to buy
a baby doll with just one eye.
But wait! I have some other deals,
like roller skates that have no wheels,
a chess set without queens or knights,
a pair of holey turquoise tights,
a rumpled tissue—almost new,
crooked nails, a size 8 shoe,
and plenty more, just stop and see!
Priced so low, they’re almost free.
Will no one buy this stuff from me?

© 2024 Rebecca J. Gomez

The only thing a list poem really has to be is a list! But what makes a list poem a poem instead of, well, a list? If you ask me, it’s the intent behind it. Are you just writing a list, or are you writing a list with wordplay, rhythm, and feeling behind it? That’s the difference! When you write down items you need to buy at the grocery store, that’s a list. But if you write a grocery list with rhythm and rhyme, that’s a poem. Or, when you’re venting your frustrations and writing down all the terrible things about your substitute math teacher or little sister, that could be a poem. Because there’s feeling in it! Even if it doesn’t rhyme.

Read some list poems!

Write your own list poem.

Your poem can rhyme, but it doesn’t have to. It can be thoughtful or funny or serious. Here some prompts to get you started if you need a little nudge:

  • Think of something you like a lot. A place, a food, your favorite animal? Write a list of everything you like about it.

  • Think of a person you love, and do the same thing.

  • Write a poem listing unpleasant experiences you’ve had (real or imagined).

  • List items you enjoyed receiving as gifts. Or that you would enjoy receiving as gifts!

  • Write a list of excuses for being late for school. Or work, for you grown-ups.

When writing your list poem, try thinking like a poet and use some poetic devices, such as alliteration, rhyme, onomatopoeia, simile, and imagery. And it doesn’t hurt to go over the top in your imagination!

If you accept this challenge, we hope you’ll share your poems with us. You can put them in the comments, email us (readdiscussdo @ gmail dot com), or tag us on Instagram (use the hashtag #RDDPoetryChallenge). We will be sharing reader poems at the end of the month!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram for our “Poetry Every Day” posts for more fun poetry examples and ideas all month long!


Mindy Baker said…
It’s going to be an amazing month! I’m excited for list poems!