Maja & Jonathan (Stockholm) on Recycling Words

Maja and Jonathan have a hobby of recycling words. By hand, they cross out poems by others, to create their own on top of them.

To us the @blackoutpoet project is a fun hobby, a way of relaxing – it’s almost like meditating sometimes, sitting with a book page in front of you – and as we see it; a way of recycling words, of giving used books and old pages a second chance to be enjoyed.

We only use pages from magazines or books that we have already finished, or that we found in some lost corner of a second-hand store. We like to say that no books were harmed during this project!

All of our poems are made by hand using a black marker, making each original (except for a few collaborations, which are created online together with the other poet).

People often ask if it isn’t hard to choose which words to pick, but the biggest obstacle with creating these poems is when you have finally figured out which phrase to create, and then accidentally pulling the marker just a bit too far, blacking out one of the words you wanted to use.

This means the poem is lost and you have to move on to a new page. We could kick ourselves when that happens, but it’s also part of its charm.

The project started as a fun thing after we created some Swedish versions for our walls one day. It’s such a great combination of art and poetry; it looks beautiful in a frame.

We instantly fell in love with the concept and decided that we wanted to keep doing it, but that we would do it in English for more of our international friends (and others) to be able to read it.

Since we started our Instagram page it’s grown quite a bit, and we are now getting encouraging comments and messages from all around the world, which is so much fun – we enjoy each and every one of them.

Sometimes other poets even send us blackouts that they have created after being inspired by ours, which fills us with joy! We’ve also been asked to create personalized poems with special themes, for e.g. wedding gifts and birthdays – how fun!

Since we started in 2015 we’ve only been doing the project for ourselves, because we enjoy it and hope that others will find joy in reading our poetry as well.

We still haven’t shared our “identities” with our followers. Not because we don’t want to, but because it’s not really important. It’s the poetry that’s in focus. It wasn’t until last year, when we were asked to be part of the non-profit project Human Equation, that we shared it on our personal channels – something that was received with much enthusiasm from those in our circles that didn’t yet know about it.

We hope you’ll enjoy our poems as well – and be in touch if you have anything you’d like to know!

Maja and Jonathan, creators of @blackoutpoet


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