How to Write Book Spine Poetry
Sometimes you have moments where the perfect thing just hits you.
I was talking to my boyfriend about the book mail that came in this week: All the Light We Cannot See and How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky. True to his fashion, he had to make a joke. "But what about all the light we can see? Is all the light we cannot see how we tell Toledo from the night sky?"
Amidst our laughter, I realized we'd just happened upon book spine poetry! We didn't invent book spine poetry, but we enjoyed spending time writing poetry based on titles on my bookshelf. Here's what we came up with...
If I die in a combat zone, whistling past the graveyard,
come in and cover me.
Featuring If I Die in a Combat Zone by Tim O'brien, Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall, and Come In and Cover Me by Gin Phillips.
The sky is everywhere! Wild, prodigal summer:
The map that changed the world.
Featuring The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, and The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester.
The Cartographer of No Man's Land, The Patron Saint of Liars.
Featuring Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi, The Cartographer of No Man's Land by P.S. Duffy, and The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett.
Let the great world spin so big... This is how you lose her.
Featuring Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, So Big by Edna Ferber, and This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz.
The story of a shipwrecked sailor, the man time forgot,
reading Lolita in Tehran.
Featuring The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Man Time Forgot by Isaiah Wilner, and Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.
Waiting for the barbarians' war by candlelight.
Rules of civility saving the world.
Featuring Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee, War by Candlelight by Daniel Alarcon, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, and Saving the World by Julia Alvarez.
The last time I saw Paris,
city of glass,
the hour I first believed.
Bring up the bodies, child of god.
Featuring The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene, City of Glass by Paul Auster, The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb, Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, and Child of God by Cormac McCarthy.
In the time of the butterflies, atonement.
Four spirits, home.
Featuring In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, Atonement by Ian McEwan, Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund, and Home by Marilynne Robinson.