Reviews

Find Joy in Spine Poems

I first encountered Annette Dauphin Simon ten years ago when I reviewed her children’s book Robot Zombie Frankenstein*. In more recent years, I’ve truly enjoyed following her social media posts of poetry made from book spines. Now she’s sharing them with the world in Spine Poems: An Eclectic Collection of Found Verse for Book Lovers, a 200-page journey through these tiny stories.

It’s dedicated to all of us in a spine poem as well:

Bibliophile
You Are a Badass
I Wrote This for You

With every page turn, I declared out loud, “THIS one is my favorite!” …until the next page turn. Split into categories from business to romance to pop culture, there’s a spine poem for just about any day or mood.

But if I must choose, I think page 101 speaks to me the most consistently:

I Want You to Know
What I Know for Sure
Three Little Words
I Heart Cheese

As geeks with overflowing bookshelves and the ability to avail ourselves of libraries and ebooks, it can be hard to commit to owning another book. Which ones are worth the precious shelf space (thus speeding along the inevitability of having to figure out where to put another bookshelf)?

For me, Spine Poems isn’t living on a shelf. It’s on my desk, itself a heavy, tactile experience of a hardback with embossed title, filled with the titles of 323 more books (I counted) in an inspiring and delightful format.

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It doesn’t demand “read me cover to cover” immediately. (OK, I did.) But it does offer you a break in the middle of the day whenever you want a poem, like a warm text from a friend, short and sweet, and perhaps with more to discover behind the spines. Flip to “cooking” before lunch or “parenting” when a teenager is teenager-ing, and there’s one waiting for you.

What It Is
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Something Else

Familiar titles (What to Expect) interspersed with the less familiar (What It Is) keep leading me down rabbit holes of thought connections and to new books I hadn’t met. (Sorry, bookshelves.)

Each poem comes alongside relevant quotes, fun facts, and stories, as well as the authors of the titles, of course–so you can go find the ones that speak to you more deeply than as a line of poetry.

Simon started creating spine poetry while playing a game with a colleague in a small bookstore. They weren’t the first to create them, but she definitely is an expert in the art. These short poems never fail to bring me joy, and I’m so delighted to have a whole set of them at hand any time. Give it a try–it’s a harder art form than you might think! And Simon does such a fantastic job of weaving tiny tales and messages from the spines of a handful of books.

Spine Poems: An Eclectic Collection of Found Verse for Book Lovers will be released on September 6.

* Included in a poem on page 42!

GeekMom received a copy of this book for review.

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This post was last modified on August 29, 2022 4:20 pm

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