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The Flapper Press Café: Valentine Blackout Poetry

Updated: Nov 6, 2022

By Annie Newcomer:

Juliet's Balcony, Juliet's House, Verona, Italy

The Flapper Press Café held our annual Letters to Juliet Valentine Poetry Call this year and added a poetic sweetheart twist by calling for Blackout Poetry!

The contest was open to all ages, and collaboration was allowed to create a love poem following these simple directions:

  1. Choose a piece of text that you want to blackout. You can use newspapers, magazines, letters, recipes, or photocopies of any piece of text—be as creative as you want to be!

  2. Use a pencil to start the process but by the end of your selection you will need a marker (any color will do as long as it will totally blackout the rest of the text) to blackout the text that you are not using.

  3. Draw boxes around words or phrases that attract and hold meaning for you. You are narrowing the text down to the words you want to use. You can always box something in to start and change your mind later to black it out.

  4. Consider that the poem/letter needs to be read from left to right.

  5. Once you are satisfied with your poem/letter, it’s time to blackout the rest!

  6. Take a photo of your creation. Most phone cameras will work just fine. We can always crop the image, so it doesn't have to be perfect, just easy to see and as clear as possible.

  7. Submit a .jpg image of your final product to:

We are thrilled with all of the terrific poetry and creativity submitted this year, and we thank all the poets who participated.

We'd like to make a special shout-out to Kathleen Klier's life skills students with disabilities class in Solvay, New York, for participating. This Valentine's Day they will be presenting a slideshow about the process of creating their Blackout Poems for the Director of Special Education, Department Chair, Principal, Assistant Principal, School Social Worker, and School Psychologist at the high school. (For this article, the students have used their pen names to protect their privacy.) Thank you, students!

It was more than difficult to choose just 3 poems for this year's prizes, but here they are!

Thank you to all our poets! Keep writing poetry!


1st Place Winner: Anna Gall!

Prize: $100


2nd Place Winner: Abby Caplin!

Prize: $50


3rd place winner from Ms. Klier's class: Jack Hoop!

Prize: $25

Our Poetry Submissions!

From Ms. Kleir's class: Sally Jones


Louise Moises


John Swainston


Elaine Alarcon-Totten


From Ms. Klier's Class: Harley Lucas


Pat Durkin and her grandson, Grey Williams


From Ms. Klier's Class: Jackie Tancat


Annie Newcomer teaches poetry classes at the University of Kansas Medical Center's Turning Pointa place for hope and healing for people suffering with chronic health problems. Her North Stars series shares interviews with poets and writers and Annie's own experiences through writing.

Annie is also helms the Flapper Press Poetry Café—dedicated to celebrating poets from around the world and to encouraging everyone to write poetry!

FlapperPress launches the Flapper Press Poetry Café.

Presenting a wide range of poetry with a mission to promote a love and understanding of poetry for all. We welcome submissions for compelling poetry and look forward to publishing and supporting your creative endeavors. Submissions may also be considered for the Pushcart Prize.

Submission Guidelines:

1. Share at least three (3) poems

2. Include a short bio of 50–100 words, written in the third person.

(Plus any website and links.)

3. Share a brief backstory on each submitted poem

4. Submit an Author's photo and any images you want to include with the poems

5. Send all submissions and questions to:

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