Making Poems out of Poems

It’s hard to believe we’re near the halfway point of our Waters residency, but we are! For the ninth week, we talked about erasure poems, also known as blackout poems. I found out that a lot of students are no strangers to blackout poems at all, and everyone brought their unique spin to our source text. Students selectively “blacked out” words from an excerpt of Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street. Below are select poems (text only) and some of the “blacked out” pages.

Ms. Smallwood’s 6th Grade Class

By Audra M.

come into our neighborhood
Aren’t afraid, tall

windows look
to sky
and flowers are beautiful

full of clouds
like pillows.

last cloud, the one that
pink pearls that’s

by Keira W.

shiny knives
All brown are safe
You can never fall
too much
sometimes wise
says nothing

By Caelan G.

Those who don’t know
Fat Boy
are safe

You can never have too much
Who doesn’t like school

You see that
popcorn. That’s simple

little arms,
teeth. fat
grandma’s high heels

Ms. Hooper’s 6th Grade Class

By Lela S.

Don’t know our neighborhood think we’re dangerous

All brown all around safe drive into a neighborhood another color
knees shakity-shake windows rolled up eyes look straight
how it goes and goes

never have too much sky wake up drunk
you safe you are sad too much sadness
things that are beautiful we take what we can
best of it.

Stupid and mostly a fool
he says nothing chases girl or a stick that
touched a rat he’s tough   world was full of clouds kind
like pillows

That cloud. See that
one that look like popcorn. See that. That’s God,

God, he said, and made it simple.

Blackout Poem
By Julia C.

neighborhood dangerous.
we are afraid
he’s Fat Boy
we are watch the neighborhood
shakity-shake our car windows tight and straight
that is how it goes.

You can never have too much   You can wake up drunk
here  too much sadness
few things that are beautiful.
we who is sometimes stupid  mostly a fool.  

By CeCe S.

come into our neighborhood scared we’re dangerous
think we will attach them with shiny knives

grown man, he’s Fat Boy
brown all around watch us drive neighborhood another color
eyes look straight
how it goes and goes.

can never have too much sky. fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky
flowers and most things beautiful

Darius, who doesn’t like school, stupid and mostly a fool
he’s tough

see that cloud, that fat one next to the one that
looks like popcorn

There was a family
Not tall feet very small

Grandpa slept on the living room
Doughy like thick tamales, white socks
Feet were lovely as pink pearls and dressed in velvety high heels.

Mr. D’s 6th Grade Class

Blackout Poem
by Laila E.

fall asleep wake up drunk
too much

school stupid
rat he’s tough up full of clouds

that fat one there,

By Chloe S.

They were dangerous
They are lost and got here
by mistake

But we aren’t afraid.
we are safe

There is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are
few and flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still we can make
the best of it.

The Brick Wall
by Christopher Q.

You can never have too much. You can fall asleep wake up drunk
Then you are sad too much sadness not enough Butterflies.
flowers and most things are beautiful. Still we take what we can get.

Who doesn’t like school sometimes stupid and mostly a fool,
Today though most days chases girls he’s tough
like pillows.

That fat one there? See that?
look, popcorn
made it simple



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.