Let’s hear it for poetry! There’s haikus, limericks, sonnets, verses, odes, ballads, and even riddles. Poetry is multi-functional, multifaceted, and even multifarious. There are so many different forms, features, and ways to express yourself through poetry, and it’s such an easy, fun way to engage kids and others who are perhaps not usually into reading or literature.
Magnetic Poetry kits are cool. Mad Libs are hilarious (although maybe not super poetic). But have you heard about the cool new poetry trend? Book spine poetry! It’s where you arrange the spines of your books in such a way that the titles form a poem. It’s inventive, fun, and totally cutting edge!
Libraries, bookstores, schools, publishers, and many other organizations and institutions are getting on board, promoting book spine poetry with children’s books, novels, reference tomes, periodicals, and pretty much anything with two covers and a thick page count. By using all kinds of books from all kinds of genres, it appeals to kids, teens, college students, and adults everywhere. It’s easier than sitting down with just pen and paper, the necessary materials are easily accessible, and the results can be hilarious. What’s not to love?
I was first made aware of this fun newfangled form of literature in 2015 when the Toronto Blue Jays made the playoffs for the first time in 22 years. When the Jays beat the Kansas City Royals in the first of five games, the KC Public Library tweeted a photo of some inspirational book spine poetry: “The Bad Guys Won! Home Team Advantage. Forever Blue.” Naturally, the Toronto Public Library celebrated with their own victory poem: “The Comeback, Blue Jays Blowout The Royals. Come Together.” And thus the battle of the book spines began.
Since learning of this sweet new form of literature, I’ve seen pieces of book spine poetry popping up all over the place.
Teachers use it in classrooms. “It’s important to let [students] know that inspiration can be found anywhere… including on the spines of their favorite books,” says Mrs. Orman.
The Scholastic book company discussed it on their blog, where Alycia Silverman makes some fantastic, on-the-money observations about how students feel about writing and poetry. She offers book spine poetry as a new solution to these usually “dull” tasks.
“Most young writers shy away from the revision process simply because it’s taxing to rewrite their work by hand. With book spine poetry, students will end up spending more time working on revision strategies: word choice, re-sequencing, pruning, etc. After all, it’s a lot easier to flip-flop the order of a stack of books than to rewrite a poem,” Silverman says.
Attendees at the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN – part of the National Council of Teachers of English) got in the spirit for their 2016 conference by posting their spine poetry pics on Twitter. #ALAN16
Pretty cool, right?
Also, there are cool book spine poetry contests happening everywhere! Everybody loves a good literary contest (mostly for the literary prizes, am I right?!), and spine poetry is a great new way to encourage creativity and competition.
Ever heard of LibraryThing? It’s an incredible site that offers a way for you to create a catalog for your home library online, private or shared. They hosted a book spine poetry contest in 2012 that proved to be quite popular! This one is my fave of the entries they shared on the site. It’s a haiku!
April is National Poetry Month and many high school libraries look to spark imaginations by hosting contests during this time. The Boiling Springs High School Library in Pennsylvania had some interesting entries for their 2016 spine poetry competition!
The Forbes Library in Northampton, Massachusetts, also has held several contests over the past few years for National Poetry Month. This was the winner in 2013.
It doesn’t get much more meaningful than that!
A Houston writer/teacher offered a contest on her blog. I love this entry!
Had enough yet? Nope, me neither. Just do a search for “book spine poetry” on Pinterest; you won’t believe the pins that come up! I found this one via Pinterest and actually laughed out loud!
And seriously, it’s all over Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
I don’t think this spine poetry craze is going to fade away any time soon. It’s way too much fun, and it’s educational. The best of all worlds, right?
Seeing all of these poetry pictures makes me want to rearrange all of my bookshelves at home. There are so many possibilities!
What would your book spine poem say?
YouTube Channel: ProblemsofaBookNerd
Featured image via PBS Parents