Sigma Tau Delta host Blackout Poetry event

Black and white makes colorful poetry at RMU


Sigma Tau Delta’s Celia Smith shows an attendee how to do blackout poetry. Moon, PA. April 18, 2019. RMU Sentry Media/Garret Roberts. Photo credit: Garret Roberts Photo credit: Garret Roberts

Garret Roberts, Arts and Entertainment Editor

MOON TOWNSHIP – Robert Morris University’s branch of Sigma Tau Delta hosted a Blackout Poetry event on April 18, which invited creative writers to challenge themselves to a new type of writing.

Taking place in Wheatley 111, the honor society offered markers and books for attendees to create their projects. With refreshments and calm music, the event was a social setting for writers to hone their skills.

“It is hard, but it is also really freeing,” said Celia Smith, president of Sigma Tau Delta. “It can be a cool experience to realize you can make a poem out of these words.”

Blackout Poetry takes other authors’ works, ranging from comic books to novels, and creates original poems from the words on the pages.

An attendee of the event woks on her poem. Moon, PA. April 18, 2019. RMU Sentry Media/Garret Roberts. Photo credit: Garret Roberts

Writers start by circling words on the page, making a sequence that forms a poem. After finding these words, the writer covers the rest of the pages in black marker and art to draw the focus on they’re created poem.

The challenge comes in making an engaging and coherent poem from these words. While the practice may seem simple at first, creating the perfect poem takes creativity and critical thinking.

“When your having a creative block, it can be helpful to look at another writer’s words and create something new from them,” said Smith. “It also helps with creativity, being able to piece something together. ”

There were a variety of books to choose from at the event, such as novels, poetry collections and comic books. This gave writers plenty of subjects and words to craft their own poems from.

Students read poetry and share their creative work. Moon, PA. April 16, 2019. RMU Sentry Media/Garret Roberts. Photo credit: Garret Roberts

“I’m just trying to find innovating and cool words and see where it goes from there,” said Megan Dinatale, another member of Sigma Tau Delta. “I took one of my pages from a hot cowboy knights book because I thought it was so funny. I also took another from an Edgar Allen Poe book.”

Smith originally got the idea for the Blackout Poetry event from her high school librarian, who hosted a similar event. When thinking of fun and engaging events to do on campus this semester, she presented the concept to Sigma Tau Delta.

“I had already known about Blackout Poetry, but I wasn’t really thinking about it that much,” said Smith. “Since I am president, I was thinking of some cool events we could do that other people would want to do too.”

Smith shares one of her poems from the event. Moon, PA. April 18, 2019. RMU Sentry Media/Garret Roberts. Photo credit: Garret Roberts

Dinatale shared enthusiasm for the event as well. “It’s a great way to get more members and to bring awareness to our society. It also helps us get together and bridge the gaps between classes.”

The event wasn’t exclusive to the English honor society, as any interested writer was welcome to attend the event.

“I haven’t done poetry in a long time, so I figured why not,” said Travis Tyree, a mechanical engineering major who attended the event. “I also felt like it was a friendly environment, so I decided to stop by.”

While Sigma Tau Delta may be done with events this semester, they plan to come back strong in the fall semester with more fun events for the campus. Sponsoring events such as National Novel Writing Month and hot chocolate fundraisers, the English honor society shows no signs of slowing down.

“Since this event turned out well, we plan to host another next year,” said Smith “We want to promote it more to get a higher turn out for the future.”