Poetry Pep Up Day One: The Art of Words (Zentangle Poems)

The blank page can be intimidating for a writer, especially on Day One of a challenge. Don’t stress! A zentangle poem banishes writers block and sets creativity loose to play. You are gifted with a page of words, and your task is to find a poem in those words … and enhance it.

The zentangle poem is a form of found poetry using repetitive lines (zentangles) to frame your poem. There is no limit to your creativity!

How to Create a Zentangle Poem:

  1. Draw a box around the words that you want to use for your poem.
  2. Use zentangles to delete unwanted words, and enhance your poem. (Your zentangle may turn into a picture. But it doesn’t have to.)

Other Things to Remember:

  1. We read from left to right, and top to bottom – so your words need to flow logically, for readers to make meaning.
  2. Don’t cross any words out until you know you’ve got a poem – because it might just be that you will need them!
  3. Don’t take too many words in one chunk. Less is best.
  4. Cut out filler words (a, and, the …)
  5. Your poem does not have to relate in any way to the theme of the text.
  6. Don’t create zentangle poems in your favourite book! Or a library book!

Miriam Paternoster has the most astounding video of her zentangle poetry process.

KatApel_Chocolate Zentangle


Terribly Fond

Terribly Fond

Dragon Lies

Dragon Lies

The Telephone Zentangle Poem

The Telephone

Not being an artist, I find my poem first, and then create my simple patterns from there. Sometimes I just pattern the page. Other times, my zentangles resemble an object. (Sadly, there are also times when my zentangle ruins a perfectly good poem.)

You can try our own zentangle poem using an old book, a newspaper article, an academic text (guaranteed the most fun you will ever have studying) – even this blog post, if you’re really stuck for ideas. The options are unlimited.

If you’re posting your poems to socials, don’t forget to hashtag #poetrypepup so we can all enjoy your work. I’ll be following along on Twitter and Instagram – and my co-conspirator, the wonderfully helpful Trudie from CQRASN will be handling the Facebook side of things! One of the best things about a writing challenge is the community of writers – so don’t be shy about sharing!

Have fun!

Incidentally, Theodore artist, Tracey Hewitt is running a free art journaling program from 3rd – 24th June.

Week One;

Explore what happens when we commit to repeating a simple line across a whole page, or around simple shapes; a grounding, meditative process.


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