The Peculiar Perfection of Spine Poetry

Spine Poetry, I hear you say…..what on earth is that?

For us library workers and for those in bookshops too, I would imagine, spine poetry is the stuff of dreams. A niche where workers get to unleash their own creativity and personal style. Where finding the right book or group of words has the power to make or break your masterpiece; but if all fails you can always make another one!

Spine poetry essentially is trying to make up a complete sentence or phrase using titles of books. As it’s a very visual art form some describe it as a meme (which is a humorous image passed around the internet) but there are those that argue that Spine Poetry should be an art form in it’s own right.

This is my profound effort from last week –


Spine poetry originated in 1993, when artist Nina Katchadourian began a photography project titled “Sorted Books” that involved stacking books in a particular order in order to create a sentence or story. A collection of her sorted book photographs, titled Sorted Books, was published by Chronicle Books on March 5th, 2013. The concept was first adapted to poetry in a post on an arts and crafts blog called buildmakecraftbake titled “Book Spine Poetry” published on February 11th, 2009. Here are some of Nina’s arrangements –

I hope this has inspired you all to create something wonderful with the books you already have in your house or even the ones you have borrowed form the library. For my part, I plan to try and create a new masterpiece in the library every Saturday…whether or not it actually is a masterpiece I will leave up to you to decide.

Keep tabs on Hillingdon Libraries twitter account every Saturday.

By Lara (Harefield Library)




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