Does Blackout Poetry Have To Be Black? 

Blackout poetry should be black. One study has shown that a blackout poem is a kind of poem obtained from blacking out unwanted words from written materials. 

Quite conversely, though, another source wrote that “there are no rules… use whatever color of paint.” 

Put together then, one may get lost in the thought of whether or not blackout poetry can be done in or with some other coloring tools. 

Although several kinds of poems done by blocking out unwanted words with colors other than black have been regarded as blackout poems over the years, one should still admit that blackout poetry ought to be black. 

The rationale for this is that blackout poetry originated as a type of found poetry, coupled with the fact that the word black in the term is no idle word whatsoever. 

As to its root— found poetry is a kind of poetry arrived at by selecting words that suit one’s intended message from magazines or books by means of deleting, breaking lines, adding, or cutting words out of such materials. 

So, there is a little difference between what is more of its base and blackout poetry itself. It is that one majorly gets words by cutting, adding, or deleting texts, while the other is by way of blacking out. One may even mistake some other types of found poetry for blackout poetry— except that the color black is the hallmark for any blackout poetry piece.

Moreso, having background knowledge of the history of blackout poetry will contribute to our understanding of the reason this found poetry form should, ideally, be black. 

Brief History 

Not long ago, a Texas-based poet, Austin Kleon realized that the words in newspapers may even be more valuable than people perceived them to be. Recall that those were the times when papers were short-lived; getting to the bin after being read. 

Following this, he started the art of making new meanings from written materials by blacking out unnecessary words with a black sharpie. 

Does Blackout Poetry Have To Be Black? 
Credit: Austin Kleon

At the time, he practiced the art in a daily newspaper and published his first collection titled, “Newspaper Blackout Poetry” sometime thereafter. 

But this isn’t the exact origin of blackout poetry. Research further shows that blackout poetry has been around for over 200 years. Sources propose that it could be traced back to as far back as the 1700s when one of Benjamin Franklin’s neighbors did the same with the columns of a newspaper. 

By and large, following the way it was done by the various seemingly earliest forms, one is bound to agree that blackout poetry should be black. 

And, come on, why should you call it blackout poetry and try to yellow or blue it out? This will be further considered unideal looking at the fact that words may not be completely invisible (or distracting at that) when blocked out with some other colors. 

Read Also: The rules of blackout poetry

Conclusively, we understand that though it is possible to do blackout poetry with any color, the ideal blackout poem should be black. 

Why blackout poetry may not be black 

Admittedly, some so-called blackout poetries are now done with several colors, especially since the poetry type has been a trend on social media. But, what are some possible reasons people do this? 

Does Blackout Poetry Have To Be Black? 

Upon hours of research, we found that some poets tend to see nothing bad in blacking out poetry with some other colors because the poetry type is also called erasure or redacted— the latter of which embraces some ambiguities. 

Since it is erasure, it may be done in any way so far as something’s been erased. 

Similarly, the democracy of poetry bestows enough freedom on poets. Aside from a few poetry types like dinner, poetry is largely subject to change based on the preferences of individuals or movements. 

This is one reason why for years, there have been no fixed rules to check the works of poets doing blackout poetry with other coloring tools.  

To wrap up, some people tend to feel bored blacking out poems all the time; in wanting to have a new experience, they may use other colors. 

Share Protection Status
Scroll to Top