• Amy Burvall

Spines and Wine – Serendipitous Couplets with Found Books

How thrilled I was, upon presenting at a recent conference in Portland, Oregon, that the hotel featured not one but two monochromatic-themed bookshelves!


The first – in degrees of white- was in the lobby, whilst the second – in more than 50 shades of grey – was in the ‘secret club’ room, to which I happily had access.


It was in this room I found myself waiting for some friends to finish work, sipping on some local pinot noir, that I decided to have a go at book spine poetry. I’ve done this type of “found poetry” with students in the library (p.s. the librarian loved it and took photos of the creations to feature on the wall), and the activity is featured in my book with Dan Ryder – Intention, Critical Creativity in the Classroom.

Usually stacks are made with various titles, sometimes up to 5-6 books in a poem. I’m a big fan of abstraction and minimalism, however, which is why these monochromatic shelves appealed to me. What if I stripped the poem to a couplet? A mere 2 lines (of course, not rhyming…that would be a miracle!).

They could be imperatives….


…or declaratives….


All in all, I wanted to give the titles new context through juxtaposition.

I had so much fun with this…titles seemed to jump out at me and it was quite the puzzle remembering where I’d seen a title that would be a perfect match. I ended up doing a surprising number in a matter of 25 minutes.

















this was my first one, ironically

Sometimes you have to play around with the position of the books, using a perpendicular structure. I quite like that some are snippets of what could be very mundane but when they are isolated they seem more poetic (at least to me).

I highly encourage you to try this at home – perhaps for #WorldBookDay…perhaps do a volley with friends from afar, and post on social media?

suggested hashtag: #SPINERHYMES

#bibliophile #worldbookday #creativity #bookspinepoetry #poetry #books #foundpoetry #amyburvall

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