Learning to write blackout poetry

Dear Reader,

I have been in that space between heaven and a traffic jam lately. With the new gig, trying to find time to write since the  Submission Saturday last month has been a bit difficult. Finding my rhythm is has been harder than I thought and I’m still working on it. Between grading, prepping classes, and trying to finish Jennie AND that project I told you about a couple of months ago, it’s all been overwhelming.

However, thank GOODNESS for Tintero Projects writing workshops this month! Each Sunday this month the organization, founded by my good friends Jasminne and Lupe Mendez, is hosting a writing workshop in different disciplines under the theme “Thrill You”. So by disciplines, I mean short fiction, poetry, playwriting, long form fiction, etc.

On Sunday, I  attended the poetry workshop. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately and even submitted some to publications. So I was interested in this workshop. (Last week’s was short fiction. Shout out to Hugo for leading that workshop.)

We worked on Blackout Poetry, a type of found poem that allows writers to create a new piece from an existing writing by blackout words and phrases they won’t use. Lupe, who lead the workshop, is in a middle of an amazing project and he’s using blackout poetry to tell such an interesting story through poetry. (I’m sure he’d rather tell you himself than me spilling the beans so I’ll invite him to the blog.)

Here’s a video on how to do it.

I’ve worked on Blackout Poetry before as part of a Writers In the School training session. At first, I found the form just weird. I wasn’t sure that the poetry I was doing in this technique was, for lack of a better word, right. But trying it again during the workshop, it felt more focused. I was pretty proud of the work I did that I’m thinking about working on it and submitting it.

Here’s some basic rules for creating a black out poem, according to Lupe:

  • Find whatever words make sense for you
  • Your marker is your friend ( You can take off the ending of words like -ing and -ed to help you out.)
  • You can black out as little or as much as you think is necessary
  • You can change the punctuation — add or subtract it.

Here’s one that I worked on when I got home.

Some black out poetry I’m playing with after yesterday’s Tintero Project poetry workshop.

A photo posted by Icess Fernandez Rojas (@writin2insanity) on Oct 10, 2016 at 9:05am PDT


I’ll be leading the Oct. 23 workshop focusing on thrilling super heroes and villains. If you’re in the Houston area, coming join in!


Enjoy the writing,


One thought on “Learning to write blackout poetry

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