Book spine poems from workshop eight

Sunday, 2 April 2017

On Sunday 19th March, 2017 I found an article in my inbox (from Maria Popova at Brain Pickings) that led me to the concept of  book spine poetry, originally created by the artist Nina Katchdourian. 

The idea is simple and quite brilliant. You simply browse the book titles on your bookshelf or visit a public library and see what you can come up with. From the comments on facebook and email I know that many of you found this addictive even if you did not all send me the results.

I asked you to take photographs of your creation and  send them in. Below is a gallery of book spine poems by Sue Barnard, Angie Butler, Lizzie Ballagher, Chris Sims, Marilyn Hammick,  and me. I think they are all fabulous. Sue Barnard did especially well though to get in close so the emerging poems are beautifully clear. 



As a few are difficult to read, here they are as text only . Also scroll down for poems by Judy Dinnen and Angie Butler.




The world’s wife


stolen behaviour

Marilyn Hammick


In defence of Adultery

take me with you

the plums are for enjoying now


Marilyn Hammick


Much possessed

the alternative version

of all that ends


Marilyn Hammick


Both Angie Butler and Judy Dinnen  took this a step further with interesting results:


Turn back the clock               


If only we could turn

back the clock…but

my gone girl can’t

return to me. I’m told you

 can heal your life, so

 now you read me like

 a book as I write poems

that make grown women cry.


Angie Butler

(Angie’s poem is also featured as an image in the gallery) This is very poignant Angie.



Judy Dinnen

The Bookshelf

Or  Dance to the winds of love.


The poet sets the poems to words;
he speaks of stilettos and love.

The artist tilts the image to see Wales;
 time slips to smell violets and spring.

The protester tilts love to a rampage,
slipping the time to scream his truth.
The lover tilts the poem to the valleys,
setting the words to an embrace.

The stroller sets his love towards the hills,
slipping through time, tilting his dreams.

The snake tilts his gaze, slips his

fine skin, turns into tomorrow.

The violet slips time, graces the woods.


Today words slip through time,
spring into flower, tilt
and dance to the winds of love,
rage against the demons of this time,
slip into a new skin as they grow
towards a wellspring of possibility and hope.

Judy Dinnen


I can see that you got inspired by the intriguing titles and just ran with it, Judy. I love it. It has become a surreal poem, yet one full of hope.  I particularly love: The snake tilts his gaze,lips his/fine skin turns into tomorrow.