Blackout or Bust: Found Poetry

Poems and Photos by Michelle Turken

Poem 2 (1)

Poem 1 (1) By Cheyda Arhamsadr

Blackout poetry is a form of found poetry, in which a piece of written text is manipulated and deconstructed to reveal a poem. Most typically, the author of a blackout poem will take a piece of newsprint or a novel and, with a marker, black out the parts of the text that they do not wish to include in their poem. Authors search for “anchor words” – words that stands out to them and helps to guide the direction of their poem. What emerges from this process is a series of words and phrases, pieced together with intention and purpose to form a complete piece. Some authors form poems with formal sentences, while others utilize a more freeform structure. In the pieces on this page, staff writer Michelle Turken creates her blackout poems from past issues of the New University.