Blackout Poetry Workshop

Image with paragraph of text with black out over some of the words revealing only Blackout Poetry Workshop

In celebration of National Poetry Month and as part of the Macomb Poetry Festival, University Libraries will be hosting a Blackout Poetry Workshop on Thursday, April 21st, from 11:00 AM to noon in Room 180 of Malpass Library.

Blackout poetry is a technique for creating poetry that takes an existing text – such as a page from a book, or a newspaper article– and obscures or “blacks out” certain words in order to highlight others. The remaining, highlighted words create a new poem from the original text.

"In a word, black out poetry is fun,” says Barbara Harroun, assistant professor in the WIU Department of English and one of the presenters of the workshop. “It allows us to work with words that are already on the page, instead of starting with a blank page (which can be terrifying). We determine what we black out, and what remains, and also how we read the revealed words. Up? Down? Left to right? I am still always surprised by the results.” Harroun will present the workshop in tandem with her colleague in the English Department, Rebekah Buchanan. Reflecting on the workshop, Harroun further stated “It's also super fun to create in community, when so often, writing is a solitary act."

The workshop is free and open to the public. Participants may bring their own original texts (magazines, newspapers, books, etc.) or use those provided at the workshop.

For more information, contact Outreach Librarian Christina Norton at 309-298-3298 or