Life as a Poet Knows It
Life as a Poet Knows It

Blackout Poetry

by Beth Gadsden 2 years ago in how to

Mindfulness Activity No. 4

Blackout Poetry

Here is the start of my love affair with sharing with strangers (you guys), what I do to keep myself sane so that one day, a kid may read some of this crap and be inspired or get a good laugh out of it; either way, it made them smile!

So, over the next couple of articles I'll be churning out are my favourite Mindfulness Activities that may save your soul from complete boredom or sinking just that further down the rabbit hole that is deep ass depression.

Like many obnoxious writers, I am not going to start with No.1, purely because I haven't figured out what the hell the top thing to do is, so, this article is No.4.

This is my step-by-step guide to defacing some of the worlds' authors greatest works and rebranding it as your own 3D soul.

Blackout poetry seemed very Tumblr to me and wouldn't go near it with the fear of being called a "hipster" or a "loser." (Things I call myself everyday when I use words like "peng" or whenever I make a reference to anything "pastel grunge"—IDK what that means either dw).

I've since learnt not to give a shit what people think about me and follow my natural passion for writing and poetry. I found this in primary school when I was bullied for wearing glasses and always reading some sort of book (Jacqueline Wilson & Roald Dahl FTW) and then again in secondary school when I hit peak angst and fell in love with dark poetry that, "really spoke to my soul duuuuude" and I thought I was the new Courtney Love. Smells like... emo kids.


All you need for this activity is a book (I get mine from the charity shop, everyone wins that way) and a black felt-tip. Simple and easy.

The way I do it may not be the way that everyone else does it (that's what she said—gotta bring it back people!), I open a page with my eyes shut and when I open them, I start with the first word I see.

From the first word, I go on to think about what that might mean to me or what kind of context I would use it in—(purely so I know what I'm typing makes sense, I'm going to follow along too.)

So my first word was "his," so we have a person in the poem, fab!, but what is this person doing exactly? Why is his presence in my poem?

Scan on through and see what else fits—like a jigsaw—"his had" nope. "his steps" ooo promising.

When you have your little poem, black everything else out so all you see on your glorious page are your stolen and recycled words.

Full disclosure—you may draw over some of the words you need first time around, it happens to the best of us don't worry. No one was ever arrested for colouring outside the lines.

So following my awful instructions I produced, "His steps going towards honesty had been all she needed."

You may find, as I did, some of the gibberish you come up with, isn't actually gibberish at all and is actually what your subconscious thoughts and emotions are screaming out.

So jot them down in a diary or on your notes and see what kind of a picture you form of yourself.

This is my No.4 mindfulness activity to do in your day.

(You may find at the bottom of each of these pages "befriend the unknown." This was one of my first and most important sentences I ever produced doing blackout poetry and has stuck with me as true as Hakuna Matata since.)

Befriend the unknown.

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Beth Gadsden
Beth Gadsden
Read next: I'm Tired...
Beth Gadsden

Befriend the unknown.

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