Poetry abounds in the most ordinary surroundings. One popular and fun form of poetry is book spine poetry. Rather than being written from scratch, this type of poem gathers phrases, words, and lines already written. Just stack up books from your personal collection and summer reading list, read the titles, and rearrange them until a poem emerges.
Take several books—any books—and focus on the titles alone. Leave the meaning of the book itself behind, because the final poem may express something entirely different from the contents.
These poems are free verse, a poetry form where rhyme is unnecessary. Punctuation is optional. However, this poem needs a little punctuation to fully make sense.
To me, this poem reads:
In a pickle?
Little by little,
Make the impossible possible.
Book spine poems reflect the personality of the poet because each poem comes from the poet’s own book collection. One of our middle and high school English language arts teachers offered this. It works with or without the repeated word painless.
Papers, Papers, Papers,
Everything but the kitchen sink.
This selection came together on a table of literature for middle and high school students. A collection of simple titles, in this case verbs, can take on a meaning of its own.
Okay for now,
Props are allowed. Poetry, by its very nature, gives a thoughtful outlook on the world.
The Happy Plan:
Grow Your Own Pizza
Gardening for Geeks
How to Grow More Vegetables
Keep calm and garden on!
To “write” a book spine poem, look over a collection of books, such as books you borrowed from the library for your summer reading. A theme might strike you, such as the garden books above, or else completely unrelated books might come together like “In a Pickle.” Combining books for high school students with books for younger children can lead to creative and unexpected themes.
In fact, book spine poetry for kids makes for a great family activity. It takes a little bit of word smarts, and some visual-spatial skills, and also requires a unique type of thought.
Interventions that work!
What book titles do you have around the house or schoolroom that are ready for summer reading? Do the titles create a poem? Did you notice the sticky note in the last poem? It takes out an unnecessary word and changes the meaning slightly. To add another twist, include DVDs, movies, or games in the titles.
Please take a photo of your book spine poetry and share it with us on Facebook or Twitter.