Story by: JHS Senior Emily Connor
Jamestown High Schools’ spirited Creative Expressions class, along with teacher Julie Morano, has been creating blackout poetry, a fairly new and interesting way of writing poetry.
With a newspaper and a black Sharpie marker, anyone can be a poet; it’s as simple as that. The idea is to create a poem using the words from a newspaper column. By picking out letters, words, or phrases that spark their interest, students begin to form a poem. They simply black out all the words surrounding the desired ones and thus create something new. A mundane article about taxes may be transformed into a sentimental love poem. A helpful suggestion, especially for beginners, is to focus on one paragraph or section of the article first. This method will help the poet to break down the article. The key is to take time and be patient.
Everyone has a unique style and technique when it comes to this art. One student incorporated a picture from the newspaper that worked brilliantly with her poem. Another creative artist used novels instead of newspapers, and still another chose to circle and connect words to form her poems instead. “Blackout poetry is a wonderful assignment because it is easily accessible and allows for creativity. Armed with Sharpies, the students continue to explore words embedded in text to give birth to new expression and ideas. I am so impressed with the depth of their insight and ongoing interest,” said Mrs. Morano.
The class agrees that it is a fun, creative process according to seniors Kaitlin Haines and Mercedes Warren. “It feels natural. The words almost come to you from the articles,” said JHS senior, Emily Connor. “As soon as you find one word, others pop up. It is so much easier to write a poem this way because the words are already there, you just have to be creative in how you put them together,” commented senior Jessica Pace.