Every Picture Tells A Story: “The Blackout Poet”

by JT on November 16, 2011

“I fell in love with the profound ability to know.”  Words by a 19 year old student with a 6th grade reading level.

Students from this class were given a writing assignment using blackout poetry, a form of poetry that uses  newspaper and eliminates all of the words that are not needed with a black marker.  Along with the paper, they were given a photo.  With the photo they had to create a black out poem, a creative assignment connecting art and writing.

As the teacher walked around the classroom, looking at students’ work, she came across his.  Being a former teacher myself, I can imagine the feeling of excitement, even surprise, from the words he created simply by looking at a photo.  It was this photo though, that helped spark something inside of him.  Not just a moment of brilliance, but the brilliance that was inside of him all along.  The brilliance that was put away when he didn’t do so well on his reading test, or when he failed a writing exam because he just “couldn’t find the right words.”  The brilliance that was tucked away a little more when he was labeled “below grade level.”  Now at 19 years old he was able to tap into that genius through creative expression.  Was probably doing it all along, but that doesn’t count (No Child Left Behind or more recently Race To The Top).

When I received word of this, I was in my backyard in East Harlem.  My artist cousin was living with me at the time, so art supplies were easily accessible.  My inspiration quickly took over my logic (happens often), grabbed a can of spray paint, tagged the wall in my backyard, and took a picture.  Now I realized shortly after,” shit there goes my security deposit!”  So this is potentially a very expensive dedication.  Ah well!  Keep thinking B.I.G. Kid! (Brilliance Inspired by Genius).

Purchases of “The Blackout Poet” help raise money for B.E.A.T.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: