Spine Poetry

Over at dverse, Samuel Peralta shared with us a technique inspired by Nina Katchadourian,  a New York artist and sculptor who works in a wide variety of media – including film, paper, mixed media, and books. In 1993, she began what she called the “Sorted Books” project.  Sorted-book, or spine, poetry wasn’t invented by Katchadourian, but is one of the most sustained expressions of the art.

 Gray ghost
seeing Emily's 
painted pages
remembering smell
the language of flowers when you reach me
the glittering strand
the road unseen
The Angel's Game


When you reach me 
 walking in circles
 before lying down ever wild

the road unseen to the lighthouse
 The glittering strand-the lost symbol
the thirteenth tale


Ella said…
I rearranged my titles-I was going to take another photo, but the battery in my camera died. So forgive my out of sequence verse. Thank you Samuel-it was a fun challenge. I now want to rearrange my book shelf. Yes, it will be poetically organized ;D
Mystic_Mom said…
Totally cool...I like this! A poetically organized bookshelf sounds heavenly!
Very clever! They flowed together well.
Brian Miller said…
the language of flowers when you reach me....i def like that run...the road unseen, the angels game...makes for a cool rhythm too...happy friday....

fyi - when i first clicked over there was no comment box...and i had to refresh several times...it happens with the magazine view depending on your browser....
Grace said…
Funny how rearranging them gives it a different meaning ~ I love the creativity of reading them as new found poems ~ Really well done ~
Anonymous said…
Hey Ella - this is like piecing together bits of a puzzle and seeing how the different corners fit. A very interesting way of working with words that you use super well. Thanks. k.
Anonymous said…
Hey--Ella - it says that my comment is there-- but not showing up--not sure--anyway, very cool poem. k.
oh, so so cool, Ella. your arrangement and prompts are so creative. this is nice will have to keeping visiting you
just to see what books have melded your creativiity

Gracias mi amiga
Lolamouse said…
This is a great idea, especially for a technique to break those spells when the muse won't appear! Obviously, yours did, Ella!
Mary said…
I really like what you did with these titles, Ella!!
Björn said…
Love how you created a tender love poem with the language of flowers.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Oh what a cool idea, to arrange your books poetically. Loved your poems!
Mary Ann Potter said…
What a great idea! I'm going to try it myself! You always do such great writing!
Claudia said…
When you reach me
walking in circles
before lying down ever wild

the road unseen to the lighthouse... i love lighthouses...and lying down ever wild is such a highly emotional line... very cool
Anonymous said…
Nice use of a fine collection of titles; that's another library I could get lost in ... smiles
Other Mary said…
Isn't this fun? I really like yours Ella. :o)
Yolanda Renee said…
This has to be one of my favorites! Combining the love of books and poetry – genius!
Love the look of this page too! Very professional!
Poet Laundry said…
I especially like how you used "the language of flowers when you reach me" and "The glittering strand-the lost symbol"! :-)
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Other Mary said…
Yay for' To the Lighthouse'! I just Virginia Woolf! :o)
Michael Di Gesu said…
Hi, Ella,

How are you...

Fascinating to arrange your books poetically. I am such a visual artist that I find this notion quite intriguing...

I hope all is well...


Myrna R. said…
Amazing how you created such soulful poetry out of book titles. I like your idea of rearranging the bookshelf.
Jessica Bell said…
Holy wow, those are awesome! I have to do this one day ...
Ella said…
Hi Jessica-Yes,great rainy day fun! It might build another poetry book~

Myrna-I seriously am considering it. My family will be convinced I am nuts! Thank you~

Michael-Oh, I know you would have so much fun! Have you organized them by color before?! I hope all is well for you, too! Yes, do try and let me know! :D

Other Mary-I know right! I loved that we both used this book :D

Hi Jen-It was fun! I loved yours :D
Very clever and the color woven throughout-bravo!

Yolanda-Thank you! It wasn't my idea, but I did have fun with book titles once. I will explain soon ;D
I hope you are doing well. I hope you try this~

Other Mary-I really likes yours ;D

Rumors-I too felt the same way-I wanted to write all the titles down-that others used :D

Claudia-I love lighthouses too. I am from the state that is known for them-61 lighthouses! I know so much fun resides in everwild! Thank you~

Mary Ann-Yes, do try and I want to know how it turns out :D Thank you~ I feel the same way about you~

Sherry-I loved your spine poetry-we had fun ;D

Bjorn-Thank you! I kinda wanted to linger on that idea-maybe some colorful titles would work :D

Mary-Thank you! It was a fun challenge! Your poem rocked~
Ella said…
Lolamouse-Yes, a great idea to tease the muse to come out and play! :D
Thank you~

Nene-You are so kind! YOU should try it-I know you would have fun :D

Hi Karin-It was fun-I do want to try again~ Thank you~

Grace-Your spine poem was gorgeous!
Thank you~

Brian-Thank you for the tip-I changed it up again :D Yes, this was a fabulous challenge. Thank you for the welcome at dVerse-such a fun crowd at the pub~

Hi Alex-Thank you it was fun! :D

Mystic Mom-It does-doesn't it! We could raid our kid's books, too!

Semaphore said…
Oh, I would love to see your poetically-rearranged bookshelf! I am also so happy you went and created two poems here, and you've mastered the form, bending the titles into the meaning that you intend, rather than following where the titles lead. I absolutely love the metaphors that come out of the constrained vocabulary in this form - and yours are perfect.
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Vicki Sheehan said…
clever idea...i'm going to have to try that!
Jen Chandler said…
I love this! What a fun idea! I have so many books, the possibilities are endless :) Thanks for sharing!