Friday, April 11, 2014

An Exploration of Spine Poetry

I first saw spine poetry a few days ago, when the Strand Bookstore posted a picture of a creation on their Instagram in celebration of National Poetry Month. Since April 1st, they have been posting a new spine poem everyday.

I have since discovered that "spine poetry", a poem made up completely of book titles, is quite a popular thing. They are all over many book blogs, Tumblr, and Pinterest - so I decided to dive into my bookshelf, and try some of my own!
Here Today,
Forget Me Not
When Broken Glass Floats.
It ended up being harder than I thought, as after throwing a bunch of books that I thought made sense together into a stack, I realized the poem they created made no sense whatsoever! I found myself wanting to cheat a couple of times, thinking if only this book had a "the" in the title, or this one needs a different verb tense. But part of the challenge was making what you have already work, so I refrained from changing anything.
A couple of tries, and one very messy room later, I came up with two poems I liked. Though this process was difficult, I was reminded of the freedom of poetry. Unlike novel writing, poems are written in phrases, with little to no grammatical structure. At the Teen Arts Festival last month, one of the speakers said, "Poems are a snippet of time. A very brief moment." So in my exploration here of spine poetry, I tried to capture a moment.

A Long Way Gone,
The Summer I Learned to Fly
Riding Freedom
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Such a Rush,
The Beginning of Everything.