Erasure, blackout, and crossout are all descriptions given to a type of poem or short prose work formed by taking selected words from an existing text. It’s a springboard that will take your story in new directions.
Check out how our team has incorporated them into their own pages — and find ideas and examples of cross-out poems on our Pinterest Board.
Nicole Jones says, “The story behind this page is the dilemma of choosing a name for your child (or in my case grandchild). You want a name that can be cutesy when they are babies and strong for when they become adults. When my daughter was deciding on a name for my grandson I was not only looking to see how I could baby it but also looking to see if he could get teased with it.”
“The first thing some people said when I revealed his name was that people could call him Mason Jar. My solution for this was to come up with something that he could say, like ‘Yup my Namie says that I’m her Mason Jar that’s full of love. As far as baby names, I came up with “Baby M” for when he was little and “MJ” for when he is older and plays sports.””
“To create my cross-out poem, I first chose a poem that talks about Mason Jars in general, which related to the story I wanted to tell. Then I took my typewriter “Typecast” by We R Memory Keepers and typed out the entire poem on a piece of 12″ X 12″ white cardstock making sure to cover about 2/3 of the layout.”
“I really love how it makes a statement on the backgroun,d and I’m partial to the messy look of the font of the typewriter. I added thin washi tapes in 6 different colors and blacked out the words I didn’t need. I chose all bright colors to emphasize that this was a layout about a child. I wanted to do a bit of mixed media so added clear gesso to the entire background. Once dried, I applied gelatos on the words I wanted to accent. To make the words stand out even more I took a Pitt Pen (by Faber Castel) and outlined each word.”
Kelly Prang says, “I love how this photo of my son looks like he was super ready for his first day of middle school. The photo is from 2012, and he is now in the 11th grade so it is always shocking to look back and see just how much he has changed in the last 4 years.”
“I looked at many cross-out poems online, and attempted to make one with a newspaper as well as with some book-pages, but just couldn’t make one that worked for me. When I found this poem from Austin Kleon’s Newspaper Blackout book, I was drawn to its optimistic outlook, as well as “tongue-in-cheek” phrasing of ‘while supplies last.’ My son is a jokster so this really fit his personality. I used autumnal colors, since this page is about going back to school, and a mix of vintage ephemera along with some thread nests and a twill ruler ribbon to help draw attention to the unfinished nature of a 12 year old boy.”
Christy Strickler says, “This page is all about our new kitten’s personality.”
“I used a clipped portion of a magazine article and crossed out everything with a permanent marker except for words and phrases that I felt described her. The cross out poem becomes a sort of patterned paper feature on the page in addition to adding supporting words for my story. It inspired me to choose additional words and phrases which I cut out from the magazine and found within my die cuts.I layered these onto the poem and incorporated some in the title. I used magazine strips in black with white fonts so that they contrasted with the crossed out marker. The word-based die cuts are in bright colors to pop out of the background and to pull in colors from the embellishment clusters.”
Amy Kingsford says, “I made this page to showcase a recent photo I took of my niece to commemorate her first birthday. I thought a cross-out poem would bring something special to this page.”
“In preparation for making my cross-out poem I read through a number of poems about aspen trees (my niece’s name is Aspen) until I found Riding Through a Grove of Aspens by Linda Reznicek. I retyped the poem into my text box in Photoshop using Century Schoolbook font, and I layered the text over an old textured paper to make this poem look as though it was torn straight from a book.”
“I then drew pink rectangles over the words I wanted to highlight and played around with my blending modes to create the highlighter effect you see here. I used Photoshop’s line tool to cross out the remaining words.”
Jill Sprott says, “Layer upon layer, word after word, this page depicts a love story — not the story of how we met, but of how love itself works. The page doubles as an anniversary layout. My husband and I just celebrated seventeen years, as marked in the circles next to the photo block. My favorite line from the journaling is this piece of wisdom: it is not effortless.”
“As I was searching for the raw material that would work with with this journaling technique, I kept an eye out for texts that contained words that stood out to me, as well as a variety of pronouns and verbs so that I would have some wiggle room. I spent some time browsing before committing, as I did not want to settle on texts with ready-made quotations; I wanted to be able to create my own text-within-a-text by splicing together words and phrases. I finally found my source in the form of an old grammar guide, ripping out a few pages and using a pencil to underline words that caught my eye.”
“Once I had discovered the “poem” within the text, I lightly brushed cream-colored acrylic paint over the text that I would not be using. Keep in mind that the pages may curl slightly, but this is easily remedied by placing the pages under a heavy book until they straighten out somewhat. I then underlined the key words with a black pen to make them stand out even more from the rest of the painted words.”