Witchy Weekends: Book Spine Poetry

I’m decorating my house for Hallowe’en today, and every year I do a fun mantel which includes some book spine poetry. I try to mix it up each year with different poems. Here are this season’s offerings:

the kingmaker’s daughter / drinking coffee elsewhere / a discovery of witches

 

And in honor of all the actual witches working in service each month in the protection of our country with their bindings:

four sisters, all queens / dime store magic / wicked / chocolat / reason for hope

 

And one more poem, just because it’s up on my mantel, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with witches:

lost / in the land of men / lonely werewolf girl / one hundred years of solitude

 

 

‘Tis the season.

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Poem-A-Day: Book Spine Poetry

And so today, as promised, two poems since I missed posting one yesterday.

Book spine poetry is a marvelous thing. Once you see an example, it’s probably pretty easy to figure out how it works. You just use the titles of books as your lines. I suppose you could consider it a type of found poetry.

Every April at my school, the library holds a contest to see who can come into the stacks and “find” the best book spine poems. Here are the two winners from the faculty/staff category this year.

BSP by Christa Forster:  the winter people / wake / dogs of god // reawakened / old magic

 

BSP by Harlan Howe:  spell it out // I was here / yesterday / why not me? // you / betrayed / the man who stayed behind // pregnant pause // I thought you were dead

 

Have you made any book spine poems lately? If so, please send me a picture of it or post it (if you can) in the comments below!

National Poetry Month — Day 1

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you know that during National Poetry Month I like to do some sort of month-long celebration of verse. Sometimes it has taken the form of a poem contest. The last couple of years, I’ve curated a Poem-a-Day series, which has been hugely fun. This year I want to do a little of this, a little of that, to reflect the enormous variety of things to appreciate about poetry. I will never be able to present everything in a month, but that’s okay.

Today will be the first of probably a fair few Book Spine Poems, because I love them. If you’ve not heard of this phenomenon before, BSPs are found poems made by putting the titles on the spines of books together. Every year at my school, the librarian and I sponsor a Book Spine Poetry Contest for the high school students, and frequently one of our teachers, IT wizard Harlan Howe, “primes the pump” on the first day with a BSP of his own. They’re usually really, really good and so entertaining, and this year’s is no exception.

 

20160401_100344
good news for a change / everlasting / geek love / pushing the limits / i am the messenger / out of nowhere / girls like us

 

I’d love to know what you’re doing for National Poetry Month, if anything. If you’d like to share your own poems with me and possibly have them show up here on my blog (I still have a few spots for this month left open), please email me at forest.of.diamonds@gmail.com with your poem and the subject line “Poem-a-Day series” so it doesn’t get lost in my inbox or spam filter.

Happy Poetry Month!

Featured Poet: Harlan Howe

So if I must be brutally honest, Harlan Howe is not usually (to the best of my knowledge), regularly, a poet. He’s awesome at computers and tech and teaching, but poetry isn’t his main line of work.

We had a Book Spine Poetry at school this month, though, and his entry was really good, and so I wanted to share it with you. Remember, Book Spine Poetry is a relatively easy game that takes very little time to play. If you do it, I really want to know! Send me a .jpg of yours to my email address: forest [dot] of [dot] diamonds [at] gmail [dot] com. Put “Books Spine Poem” in the title, and I’ll feature it on my blog.

Here’s Harlan’s:

 

Harlan's BSP

 

 

And here’s the text of it, in case the picture isn’t clear:

 

the world’s strongest librarian
found
a case of exploding mangoes
in the stacks
No! I don’t want to join a book club

 

 

Book Spine Poetry

You are probably familiar with the concept of Book Spine Poetry by now. It all started, if my research is correct, with Nina Katchadourian’s Sorted Books project over twenty years ago. The basic premise is that you make a little poem out of the titles on the spines of books. I love this form and plan to feature several of them in my National Poetry Month series this year. Here’s one I put together tonight.

 

BSP 4/2/15

 

I don’t normally use more than one book by the same author in a single Book Spine Poem, but tonight it just worked out that way.

 

wicked
witches
drinking coffee elsewhere

four sisters, all queens
shattered souls
lost

happy to be here

 

I’d love for you to share your Book Spine Poetry with me. Consider this your formal invitation to do so! Maybe it will even be included in this series. Please send it to me at forest.of.diamonds@gmail.com with “Book Spine Poem” in the subject line.

The Results Are In…

Thank you to everyone who voted in the Book Spine Poetry Contest Poll!  The results are in.

The top three winners will win a t-shirt with a poetry joke on it.  (Hope you enjoy.)  Winners, please send me a private email so I can send you the details, get your sizes, etc.

Thanks again, everyone, for participating!

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1st place:  “Combined and uneven apocalypse” by Maia Almeida-Amir

Combined and uneven apocalypse Living in the end times Utopia Our history is still being written
Combined and uneven apocalypse
Living in the end times
Utopia
Our history is still being written

 

2nd place:  “In other worlds” by Cindy Clayton

In other worlds: A thousand splendid suns. The lake of dreams, The summer tree— Everyone is beautiful. . The rest of life: Something rotten. Crime and punishment, Truth and consequences— The places that scare you. . I am the messenger: Good omens! The wake of forgiveness.
In other worlds:
A thousand splendid suns.
The lake of dreams,
The summer tree—
Everyone is beautiful.
.
The rest of life:
Something rotten.
Crime and punishment,
Truth and consequences—
The places that scare you.
.
I am the messenger:
Good omens!
The wake of forgiveness.

 

3rd place:  “Raising My Teen” by Laine Little

Blood and faith Lost The last battle Between parent and child No more misbehavin' Celebration of discipline
Blood and faith
Lost
The last battle
Between parent and child
No more misbehavin’
Celebration of discipline

 

Book Spine Poetry Contest Update (and Poll)

We had a lot of great entries in the Book Spine Poetry Contest.  First, I want to thank everyone who participated!  I hope you enjoyed playing as much as I enjoyed seeing your poems.  Second, as promised, here are all the entries (listed in no particular order) so you can all enjoy them, too.  I’ve transcribed the lines of the poems in the captions in case you have difficulty reading some of the spines in the photos.

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Three from Lauren Nagel:

How to think like Leonardo da Vinci Know your own mind
How to think like Leonardo da Vinci
Know your own mind
LNagel books II
Dictionary
Thesaurus
The elements of grammar
Me talk pretty one day
LNagel books III
Ladies’ own erotica
Get lucky
Can’t wait to get to heaven

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from Paula Billups:

Der Steppenwolf Goatwalking Pathways to bliss Beyond good and evil My world and welcome to it
Der Steppenwolf
Goatwalking
Pathways to bliss
Beyond good and evil
My world and welcome to it

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from Maia Almeida-Amir:

Combined and uneven apocalypse Living in the end times Utopia Our history is still being written
Combined and uneven apocalypse
Living in the end times
Utopia
Our history is still being written

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from Cindy Clayton (who also provided with her entry a text version with her intended punctuation, so I’ll use that for the caption):

In other worlds: A thousand splendid suns. The lake of dreams, The summer tree— Everyone is beautiful. . The rest of life: Something rotten. Crime and punishment, Truth and consequences— The places that scare you. . I am the messenger: Good omens! The wake of forgiveness.
In other worlds:
A thousand splendid suns.
The lake of dreams,
The summer tree—
Everyone is beautiful.
.
The rest of life:
Something rotten.
Crime and punishment,
Truth and consequences—
The places that scare you.
.
I am the messenger:
Good omens!
The wake of forgiveness.

****

from Laine Little (entitled “Raising My Teen”):

Blood and faith Lost The last battle Between parent and child No more misbehavin' Celebration of discipline
Blood and faith
Lost
The last battle
Between parent and child
No more misbehavin’
Celebration of discipline

****

There you have it!  If you sent me an entry and don’t see it here, I apologize.  Please email me right away so we can sort it out.

Now, part of the reason it took me so long to get this post done has to do with my being out of town for a few days during an unusually busy time at school and having to play catch-up all week.  But part of it is that, frankly, I can’t really decide who has won!  So many of these poems are just fantastic.

So I’m putting the fate of this contest in your hands, dear readers.  Below is a poll in which YOU decide which are the best entries!  The poems are listed by their first lines.  Polling will be open until the evening of Monday, May 20th.  I’m going to try and set this up so you can vote each day, if you want to, to make this sort of like approval voting.  First, second, and third place entries will win a prize!  Winners will be announced the week polling ends.

Thank you for voting!  Please spread the word to others to do so.

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