Anyone can be a poet (even if they don’t know it). Set your inner poet free with this alternative style of poetry.


  • Find old newspapers and magazines at home or photocopy pages from books.
  • You will also need coloured pens or pencils

What’s a Blackout Poem?

  1. Look at the blackout poetry examples which can be downloaded and printed out from the resources section below. Have you seen this type of poetry before?
  2. Blackout poems are made using pages from books, newspapers, or magazines. Blackout poets pick out single words or phrases from the existing text, then piece them together to make something new. This kind of poetry embraces randomness, and also gives people a chance to mix poetry and visual art.

How to become a Blackout Poet

  1. Find a pencil and a page of text.
  2. Scan the page looking for a ‘theme word’ to inspire possible topics for their poem. Choose any word for your theme word – it’s about choosing something that stands out to you. Words may stand out because they have meaning or significance, for example, because they link to a personal value, a favourite feeling, or a special event. The meaningful theme word decides the topic of the whole poem.
  3. Read the page more carefully. Lightly circle any words that connect to your theme word or resonate with you – it’s also OK to circle words just because they sound nice! This is all about self-expression! Don’t circle more than three words in a row. If possible, pick words that work on their own.
  4. Piece together the circled words in the same order that the appear on the page (so, in English, top to bottom and left to right). Aim for about eight lines of poem – it’s up to you where a line stops and a new one starts.
  5. Go back through their poem – do they want to remove any words? Are there any spaces where they need to add something? Experiment with a few different possibilities. If things aren’t working out, it’s OK to go back and repeat step three to find some more words.
  6. Once you’ve settled on a final poem, erase any circles around words you’re not using.
  7. Circle the words that you are using more obviously – you could use a pen or highlighter.
  8. Share their poem with the your family or other scouts (maybe by reading it out , or photographing and sharing). You could chat about what it means and how you pulled words together.

Age Range:                     Scouts, Explorers, Network

Time to Complete:         30 mins

Badge Requirements:   Scout Writer badge