Black Out / Erasure Poetry Art Project

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What Is Black Out (Erasure) Poetry?

What we build or create in any form requires some ability to dismantle. Whether we are going through various life changes or choices, one thing requires another to move, change, or be recreated to allow the new in. With erasure poetry, the concept and its various origins requires the same idea.

To take something with meaning and purpose, then to remove elements of it to create new meaning and purpose would be the foundation in simplest terms of this concept So what does this mean exactly?

Some of the earliest examples of erasure poetry would require three simple steps:

1. Choose text from a book or handwritten.
2. Choose word to erase or black out.
3. Use the remaining words to create a wholly new work with what remains.

How one does this is completely open and experimental to the person. In this activity we will be examine of few of those original concepts but with emphasis being on the healing elements of the activity. Your choice in words, design, erase and create is entirely up to you.

There is an unending array of ways to do this healing and creative project. In this blog and accompanying video, we will use a book page, a few simple supplies, and see where the intuitive sense of play takes us.


These are suggested supplies used in the blog and video. Feel free to create your Erasure Poetry piece with anything that you like, with any materials you like.

White Gel Pen
Decorative or Plain White Paper
Pencil or Sharpie marker
Erasure Download

Remember you can use anything you wish to… Get creative!

Step 1

In this first step, we will take time to look for a book page or find a printable one online. See what speaks to you. It could be  paragraph of text or an entire page of words. You may find that a page with imagery could be fun to connect your erasure poetry to. Whatever you choose, make sure to take a few moments to look the page over and even meditate on it before moving on to step two.

Step 2

Let’s choose our words that appear before us either obviously or subconsciously. Sometimes we may see words that go together to form sentences or stanzas as you would see in traditional poetry. Perhaps you may find words appear and speak more randomly to you.

You may choose a set of singular words that are more descriptive to you and what you are trying to create with this project. Either way, this is the beginning of a very meditative and explorative process. We often find meaning and symbolism where we least expect it.

So, dive in and begin circling or saving in some way that feels right to you the words you prefer before moving into the next step.

Step 3

In this step, we have now chosen our words that resembles something meaningful in s poetic and healing way.

Begin this step by choosing the medium you would like to use to remove the words you do not want. You may choose to use multiple mediums, create a more detailed art piece around your words, or you may choose to black out unwanted words entirely.

Whatever you decide, just let it flow freely from you without expectation. A fluid and intuitive dance may present itself and that is always a very welcoming and healing place to be in. Enjoy the meditative process at whatever speed you feel is right for you.

This is where the elements and meaning within the words find themselves together and create new life before you on your page.

Your Erasure Poetry Experience

As you complete your piece, take a moment once more to reflect on all the ways it speaks to you. Are you surprised by the flow of words chosen? Is this something very different than other projects you have tried? How informative and healing was this experience for you?

If you enjoyed this project, feel free to leave a comment below as well as share an image of your project in the Create For Healing Facebook Group. We’d love to see what you did with the project.

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