Erasure Poetry

There have been many articles, newspaper reports, books, songs and stories written about important events in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples history.

In this activity, students may choose to use the examples provided as a starting point for a piece of Erasure poetry, or source another suitable text.

Erasure is a form of poetry/art created by erasing or blacking out and therefore highlighting words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem. The key thing with an erasure poem is that the text AND redacted text form a visual poem.

See some great examples here.

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The aim of this activity is to:

  • Give students an opportunity to find their own voices, while at the same time engaging with the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the existing text.
  • Introduce students to an accessible and fun writing exercise suitable for a wide range of skill levels.
  • Improve language skills by focusing on word choice.

Students can think of an Erasure Poem as a text that is a combination of visual and written text.

Teaching sequence

Step 1: Select a page of text

Students may choose to use one of the text block samples provided here.

Uluru Statement from the Heart

Our Voices Our Future

“Treaty” Song Lyrics Yothu Yindi

Teachers may also like to choose other examples or provide students with photocopies of relevant newspaper articles or students may wish to find their own. Remember to use as your base, texts written by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and events.

Step 2: Scan and select

Students will scan the page and begin to select the words that appeal to them and start to form ideas about the shape and theme of their poem. Use a pencil to lightly circle words initially and to outline the path of the poem.

Step 3: Shade and shape

Students should choose their preferred colours and using markers/textas define the final poem by colouring the unused words. Encourage students to be creative and make an artwork out of the final Erasure poem.

See further examples of creative and inspiring Erasure poetry

Step 4: Share, read and display

Ask students to share their poems by taking turns to read aloud or swap with others in the classroom. Create a wall display of all the Erasure Poems.

You may wish to enter these into the competition or use them as a jumping off point for further writing and art activities.

The Blue Whale by Jorja Morgan

Teachers Click Here

Many of these resources and activities have been developed in consultation with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to ensure that the program meets NSW curriculum outcomes for Stages 3, 4 & 5.