If you venture onto the internet looking for poetry, it won’t be long before you come across a black-out poem – a type of found poem in which the writer creates a poem by blacking out a piece of text with a marker. It can be a poetic exercise for some, or a great way to get over writer’s block for others. The purpose of the exercise is to create a new work of art out of something that already exists, and in doing so writers often discover how word choice and language helped to create the tone of the original writer’s work. Many students find it exhilarating and affirming – they suddenly find that they can write, or that they can write poetry, because they had a clear place to start.
In 10th grade Humanities, Oceana students learn about the Holocaust. As part of this unit, they read Elie Wiesel’s Night, a memoir of a survivor’s experience of the Holocaust. After reading the book, we took photocopies and created blackout poems. What follows is some of the amazing work of our students.