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How To Write Book Spine Poetry

vivatramp how to write book spine poetry uk lifestyle book blog

Book Spine Poetry came about following Nina Katchadourian's Sorted Books project, in which she gathered people's books and stacked them on top of one another to consequently turn book titles into lines of poetry. Not only is spine poetry cheap and inventive, it's also an interesting way to share the books that you enjoy or can relate to creatively. The composition process can be a little lengthy but it's more than worth it once you're sat with a poetic stack of books in front of you. I promise. Okay pals, switch your 'reading poetry' heads on because I'm about to share the results of my very first go with you! Stick around for my tips on how to write book spine poetry too!

how to write book spine poetry creative writing uk book blogger vivatramp


the accidental: commentary
My first ever attempt at book spine poetry! Spine poetry isn't usually titled, but I felt like The Accidental was quite fitting for my piece so ~yolo~. I didn't intend for this piece to be so dark and suffocating but that's just what happened. You can't really manipulate or judge the creative process, eh?! The first two lines of the poem were both titles that instinctively stood out to me and I love the way in which they worked together seamlessly, allowing me to introduce and explore my narrator's vulnerability within a few lines. I've added in some punctuation above, just for lols, but it works with or without.

I really like the duality of life and death in this piece. Death drives the piece throughout but its origin isn't explicit at first. Whilst the poem begins with death, the tone is initially quite flexible and it could almost be Romantic in an enlightened hey-here's-stuff-that-makes-sense-to-me-now way. However, the menacing vignettes soon play out, beginning with George's Marvellous Medicine and abruptly ending with A Handful of Dust. The readers expectations and hopes for the narrator are dashed before they can really process what has happened or work out who the characters really are. There's something extremely powerful in the way in which we relate to death that is really fascinating to explore in poetry, I think. That could just be me though...

vivatramp how to write book spine poetry uk book blogger lifestyle creative writing exercises


I'm still a bit of a book spine poetry n00b when you think about it but I thought I'd impart all of the wisdom that I have gained so far in order to help you guys out! Leave your own advice in the comments too. Good luck! 

| browse your shelves & note down titles that stand out to you 

alternatively, note down titles that resonate with your life & experiences
| group titles that work well together thematically
take it easy - don't put pressure on yourself
| plan, draft and re-draft your composition - move titles around & substitute ones that don't work!
| align the spines & snap a photo
bask in your creative glory 

If you'd like to scroll through all of my advice posts then you can do so.



  1. I've never come across this before but I actually really like it! I used to love writing poems when I was at school and university but have just fallen out of the habit since I started full-time work... this seems like a nice exercise to get back into it!



  2. this is so clever and i love the poem you created!! xo

  3. Love this idea! I've never come across it before, and I thought it sounded interesting from the title, so read on. Read the poem once, was like "Eh?", read it again properly with the rest of the post and thought it was actually really amazing. Such a unique way to put together a poem - definitely going to give it a go sometime :)

  4. I've never tried book spine poetry before but I think it's a wonderful idea. I love your poem :) and your tips are great - this whole post has definitely inspired me to have a go at book spine poetry myself!


  5. Oh, ohh so interesting! I've never seen this before and I love the idea. Will either do my own post on it or post a photo to instagram!

  6. Haha, wonderful! A great way to build a poem based on what you already have on your bookshelf - reminds me of the Surrealists' automatic poetry generating techniques :)

    Tamsin / A Certain Adventure xx

  7. I loved this Art Assignment, I really need to get on and actually do it - my sister and I were planning on making some out of each other's book shelves :) Xx

  8. This is such a great idea!! I've never actually heard of it before. Also, great taste in books- The Ask And The Answer (along with the other two books) remains to be my favorite book series!


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