Blackout Poetry Event Inspires Creative Redactions

2 mins read

On April 7th, the Menlo Park Library hosted a blackout poetry event. This unique form of writing invites people to write poetry not from creating their own words but instead by taking words they like from a page of a novel and crossing out the other words to form verses.

Participants began by skimming through a novel and finding a page that had a few words that stuck out to them. Then, they ripped that page out of the book and highlighted all the words that poetically spoke to them. Next, they redacted all the other words with black marker so the only words remaining formed a short poem. Everyone had a unique way of eliminating the words, and many decorated their pages to add a personal touch.

Christie Inocencio, the event coordinator, said, “April is National Poetry Month, and I wanted to do a poetry event that was accessible to everyone. I didn’t want people to be nervous about writing poetry because they’d have to come up with their own words.”

“This event is about being creative, finding how to respond to random words on a page, and writing poetry that makes us happy,” she added.

People of all ages attended this event. Ten-year-old Clara White created multiple poems at the event. “When I looked at the page I had, I simply found words I liked. I circled them and blacked everything else out, which was the satisfying part,” she said.

This isn’t the first time White has created poetry, but this was a change of pace. “I’ve made poetry before, and I’ve enjoyed being in poetry contests, but this was a different experience. It was probably easier than normal poetry because the words are already there. I liked it a lot, especially because I was able to make pretty funny poems from the words I chose.” 

Despite this event being fairly small, Inocencio spoke to its importance. “In each of our lives there are so many things to do, so art is put last on our lists. I think that’s unfortunate because art heals our hearts, our minds, and it gives us a place to just be.”

Jace is a sophomore, and this is her first year in journalism. She hopes to write about local issues that impact M-A students and beyond to provide insight on ways we can improve as a school and community together. In her free time, she reads a variety of articles relating to local, national, and international news.

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