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Valentine's Poetry Contest!

By Annie Newcomer:

It’s time for our annual poetry call for Valentine’s Day—

with cash prizes!

Last year’s Letters to Juliet was a such a success that we’re sticking to the theme of love poems and love letters—but this year we are giving it a poetic twist by calling for Blackout Poetry!

You may have seen examples of Blackout Poetry in other publications or on other poetry platforms. It’s easy to do and has a long creative history that has been called erasure poetry, redacted poetry, and found poetry.

Our poetry call is open to all ages, and collaboration is allowed. You can be as creative as you like with color and shape. Go wherever your imagination takes you!

Below you will find examples and easy step-by-step directions. You can always email us with questions at if you need more information.

Our staff will choose the top three submissions for our prizes, but everyone’s work will be published on Valentine’s Day!

We look forward to sharing your work and spreading the love next month!

Poetry prompt for 2022: Love Poems/Letters

Find a secret or not-so-secret message for your Juliet or Romeo in a text of your choosing and create a piece that we can share in an article for the Flapper Press Poetry Café on Valentine’s Day!

Remember: Any text can be turned into blackout poetry.

Here are links to various examples if you need help getting started:


One first-place winner is awarded $100.

One second-place winner is awarded $50.

One third-place winner is awarded $25.

Submission Deadline: February 6, 2022


  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:


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!

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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