By Katrina Grella
Student Engagement Specialist, Boys & Girls Club of Manchester
Imagine telling your story on the foundation of someone else’s words. For some, this may be the start of a life chapter—a fresh start. While for others, it becomes a new visual storytelling experience they never knew existed. Blackout poetry aims to discover what lies just between the lines. Maybe even help guide you through the darkness to find a light.
Media Power Youth and the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester provided a space to do just that and more! Throughout the workshop series “Between the Lines,” participants found blackout poetry to be an imaginative process to discover a form of self-expression, defeat performance anxiety, and for others, a way to silence the dreaded writer’s block. The students even broadened their knowledge of their own perspectives by learning how to write an artist statement to accompany their piece.
The Boys & Girls Club of Manchester’s 603 Creative Writing & Arts program includes members from various storytelling backgrounds, from free verse to spoken word performers. This workshop series gave all students an identical set of parameters which enabled them to change or alter an original message to fit their perspectives.
Media Power Youth and the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester published an anthology of their finished works entitled: “Dividing the Darkness with the Poet Finders.” The blackout poems contain an experience for the viewer to follow the student’s perspective on what messages they are choosing to reveal or, in some cases, leave behind. Where some pieces may have the themes of sadness and love, another confronts the underlying problem with gender discrimination in society. While another chooses to create a dedication of sorts for all single mothers, like her own.
Throughout this workshop series, students found empowerment in showing their perspectives and telling their truths in the forms of poetic verse and photography. Like all artistic mediums and formats, blackout poetry features how not one person can arrive at the same piece and come out of it with the same interpretation. In the end, all the students found their own ways to guide themselves through the darkness to discover and rediscover a light between the lines.