Blackout Poetry

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The words for blackout poems are already written on the page, but it’s up to the blackout poet to bring new meaning and life to these words. 


Blackout poems can be created using the pages of old books or even articles cut from yesterday’s newspaper. Using the pages of an existing text, blackout poets isolate then piece together single words or short phrases from these texts to create lyrical masterpieces. Blackout poems, as I’m sure you can imagine, run the gamut from absurd to sublime because all of the words are already there on the page, but the randomness is all part of the fun! Some pages of text, admittedly, work better than others. Although it might not be Wordsworth each time, I truly believe a poem lives within the words and lines of any page, and I encourage you to uncover it!


Creating a blackout poem involves steps that are all about deconstruction then reconstruction


Step 1: Scan the page first before reading it completely. Keep an eye out for an anchor word as you scan. An anchor word is one word on the page that stands out to you because it is packed and loaded with meaning and significance.  Starting with an anchor word is important because it helps you to imagine possible themes and topics for your poem. 


Step 2: Now read the page of text in its entirety. Use a pencil to lightly circle any words that connect to the anchor word and resonate with you. Resonant words might be expressive or evocative, but for whatever reason, these are the words on the page that stick with you. Avoid circling more than three words in a row.


Step 3: List all of the circled words on a separate piece of paper. List the words in the order that they appear on the page of text from top to bottom, left to right. The words you use for the final poem will remain in this order so it doesn’t confuse the reader. 


Step 4: Select words, without changing their order on the list, and piece them together to create the lines of a poem. You can eliminate parts of words, especially any endings, if it helps to keep the meaning of the poem clear. Try different possibilities for your poem before selecting the lines for your final poem. If you are stuck during this step, return back to the original page of text. The right word you are searching for could be there waiting for you.


Step 5: Return to the page of text and circle only the words you selected for the final poem.  Remember to also erase the circles around any words you will not be using.


Step 6: Add an illustration or design to the page of text that connects to your poem. Be very careful not to draw over the circled words you selected for your final poem!

More examples:

4-15-16_blackout_poem_3  garsbbehuyix

Ernest Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants”


If you were out on Friday, be sure to get the notes from the absent bin and get all of the information off of the Prezi, found here. This information WILL be on your final exam!

This is Ms. Antonacci’s favorite short story of all time, by her favorite author of all time! This is a perfect example of Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory, or Theory of Omission.

Do Now:

  1. Explain the Iceberg Theory in your own words. You may draw a picture if you’d like.
  2. Using your phone, research the following idioms and define them:
    • White Elephant (Have you ever taken part in a white elephant gift exchange?)
    • To “be at a crossroads”

Step 1:

Read and annotate the story in its entirety independently. If you’re confused at the end, GOOD! That’s exactly what Hemingway wanted.

Step 2:

With your group, read the story aloud. Try to determine who is speaking at which time (Jig or The American) and create reading roles for each of the characters, as well as the narrator.

Step 3:

What are Jig and The American talking about? Using context clues and at least three pieces of direct text evidence to craft an argument (~8-10 sentences) about the subject of the piece. Pay close attention to diction and tone. Be prepared to share this with the class.

Step 4:

With your group, determine the symbolic meanings of:

  • The white elephant
  • The railroad tracks
  • The hills

Be sure to use complete sentences. Only one page is needed per group.



Up until our EOC exam next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (May 1-3), we will be utilizing USA Test Prep for review. This includes collaborative review games, individual competition, and practice EOC exams.

If you haven’t done so already, please follow the steps below to create an account on USA Test Prep.

Go to:

Account ID: pebblebrook

Student Activation Code: stu1223

**These are case-sensitive!**

Follow the instructions to create your account, then add me as a teacher. Be sure to click “join class” (Am Lit Spring 2017) and select “add assignments” when prompted.

House for Sale PBL

Sell me the Usher House!


Please be sure to read through ALL of the requirements for the House for Sale PBL below.


  • Sell me the House of Usher!!!
  • Using persuasive techniques and rhetorical strategies, your task is to generate a realistic and honest Open House pamphlet for the House of Usher
  • You will evaluate and assess current real estate resources to assign a fair market price, figuring structural weaknesses and flaws into your final asking price.
  • You will make persuasive aesthetic choices in the original visuals you will include in your final pamphlet

Steps to Take:

  1. Fold your computer paper to resemble a vertical pamphlet.
  2. Front flap:
    • Compose a welcome message that discusses the sale and rich history of the House of Usher.  Remember that, by law, you will need to disclose EVERYTHING that happened in the house.  You need to tell the truth, and cannot lie by omission.  A requirement is to employ two of the three appeals from the rhetorical triangle in this disclosure.  This text should be no longer than a paragraph.
    • You also need to draw (or find a digital representation) of your idea of what the House looks like. Remember your purpose when considering your aesthetic design. Be truthful, but persuasive.
  3. Inside pages (pages 2-4):
    • You will choose the placement of a total of three original images that show the Romantic settings described in the story. Under each image, provide an abbreviated direct quote from the story describing the setting. You MUST use a parenthetical citation for each quotation.
  1. Inner flap (page 5): You will compose two testimonials from any character represented or mentioned in the story that actually stayed or lived in the House. Adopt the appropriate diction and syntax of your character and use at least one rhetorical device (look at the handout provided to you or check the class blog) as you style this paragraph. Again, your placement of these compositions is your choice.
  2. Back cover (this should be directly on the back of #1):
    • List the total number of rooms according to the story
    • One sentence that describes a distinguishing feature of the House
    • Make an allusion that in some way references the life, death, or other works of Edgar Allan Poe
    • List the fictional name and contact information for your real estate company


*Want extra credit?

  • Consider the overall aesthetics of your finished product, and thematically align them with the characteristic of dark romanticism.  Plan everything from the placement, orientation, content, and even font choice and size to reflect one or more of these characteristics.
  • Come up with a 30 second jingle for your fictional company and sing it when turning it in –OR- a 30 second memorized sales pitch you would use to greet guests to your Open House.  Again, perform this pitch when turning in your finished product.


Examples and Resources:

Romanticism and Transcendentalism


With Patrick Henry’s “Speech to the Virginia Convention,” we are officially done with Rationalism. It’s time to move on to my (second) favorite literary movement(s), Romanticism and Transcendentalism. Since these two movements overlap in American history, we will study both in tandem.

Please review the Prezi here and take notes!