Occult poetry originates from found poetry in which the artist blackens in words, usually with black marker, in other art forms. It can be newspapers, magazines, books or any other writing. By blackening the words, a redacted poem is formed.
When we think of poetry, it’s usually not the first type of poem that comes to mind. According to the Offbeat Poet, occult poetry or redacted poetry was invented in the 18th century, but only recently made popular by Austin Kleon’s “Newspaper Blackout.”
Blackout poetry is not only a fun way to create new artwork, it’s also very relaxing. In the spring of 2019, I attended a blackout poetry meeting with Inklings Literary Magazine. I took a page from an old newspaper and used black paint, covering words to give light to others. When I was done, I wrote a poem.
I’ve never been good at writing poetry. I don’t really understand iambic meter or pentameter, but with the redacted poetry, I didn’t really need it. I created a poem that I was proud of, even though it wasn’t a great job. It allowed me to express repressed emotions for which I could not find the words.
From March 29 through April 18, the Warner Memorial Library and Inklings will be co-sponsoring an Occult Poetry Contest for students to enter. This virtual contest has a QR code that can be scanned for students to submit their blackout poems.
The library has a number of books that students can use to create their poems as well as crayons, markers, pastels, colored pencils, glue and scissors. It’s not only a fun new event for Eastern students, it’s also a great way to relieve the stress of this semester and year.
Students can visit the library for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.