Creative Writing: A Black-Out Poem

But first: a 60-second poetry lesson. Though you may not know its name, enjambment is one of the most recognizable elements of poetry. Enjambment is what makes “We Real Cool,” by Gwendolyn Brooks, look like a poem (not a paragraph):
We Real Cool
By Gwendolyn Brooks
The Pool Players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Using enjambment, a poet creates line breaks right in the middle of what would be sentences. So, the sentence: “We left school” continues from line 1 onto line 2, leaving “we” dangling out there in space. Using enjambment and line breaks gives a poem its unique shape on the page. It also allows the poet to emphasize certain words by dangling them at the end of the line (what word does Gwendolyn Brooks seem to emphasize over and over?)
Now: experiment with the shape of a poem, and the meaning of each individual word inside it, by creating a black-out poem. First, select a passage from a newspaper or magazine (maybe, if this works, we can use an old book). Then, take your trusty black marker. Black out the words you don’t want, leaving only the ones your poem can’t live without. See below for inspiration








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