Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Slice of Life - Book Spine Poems

I've been participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers. I love the challenge of composing a piece of writing at least once a week about life or teaching.
My daughter is taking a creative writing course, and she sends me the cool things she does in class.  I loved this one...book spine poems!  This "writing" excercise is new to me, but I discovered this is not new to others.  Scope Notes has a whole slew of them.  The idea is to gather books for their titles, stack them in just the right order, and voila!  Here is her example (I took the liberty to write it out, making my own choices in capitalization and punctuation - she may have written it differently):

A devil is waiting
The Dream Stalker
Hand of evil
Sleeping with fear
Bones to ashes
I remember nothing
Until I find You.
Here is mine:

Song Yet Sung
The given day
I know this much is true
A tree grows in Brooklyn
Milk glass moon
The lake of dreams
The light between oceans
and the mountains echoed
A thousand splendid suns
A Year of Wonders.
The interesting this is that I revised this a few times, stacking and restacking.  I could also play with the punctuation once it's written down.  I could add/change words:
A Song Yet Song
Any given day,
I know this much is true;
a tree grows in Brooklyn
under a milk glass moon.
A lake of dreams
and a light between the oceans
make the mountains echo.
Splendid suns make
a thousand years of wonder.
 I felt like it was slightly addicting!  I could play around with the books around my house or classroom and stack them all in poems!  I think students would love this since it's nonthreatening, but still creative.  It would be a good exercise in choosing theme topics or titles and sticking with mood/tone/subject.  It's an easy way to teach line breaks and how to make choices in punctuation, capitalization, and shape. 
Try it!


  1. What a wonderful book poem! I love the 'milk glass moon' line in each poem for some reason. i can't put my finger on why.
    I'm forwarding your post to some of my teachers!

  2. Thanks for the great poems! Search around on the blogs in Slice of Life and you will find more of these book poems. They are so fun to compose and to read!

    Here is mine: http://newtreemom.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/faith-book-spine-poem-slice-28/
    And comments about the books:

    1. Oh thanks! I loved yours! They were new to me. Isn't it neat how ideas get circulated again and again!

  3. Book spine poems are addictive. Every year I try to create a few to add to Travis Jonker's gallery. It could become a nightmare for a librarian, but it sure is fun.

  4. "The light between oceans" is my favorite line! I, too, love spine poems! Yours is especially good!

  5. I've tried this once before, actually last year at NCTE with Alyson Beecher when we were looking through all of our ARCs. It's not easy! It is addicting, for me because I wanted to come up with something great but it's hard when you're limited. Still fun, though!

  6. I have seen many of these but have not tried them yet. I might hold off until the March challenge when I need a quick idea for a post! :)

  7. I love your book spine poem. It's filled with gorgeous imagery. I can imagine you walking around looking for the perfect titles! I was tempted last night, but book spine poetry is not always a quick slice and it always makes a mess of my bookshelves.