Have you heard of book spine poetry? A friend recently introduced us to this idea as a fun way to collaboratively create a poem. The Adventurer and I decided to give it a try. We gathered books from all over the house – because our favorites are rarely sitting on the shelves – and played around with the arrangement.
As you can see, we chose a variety of titles for our experiment. Although new to me, book spine poetry has been around for at least 20 years. A quick internet search brought up plenty of inspiration to get us started.
I know that a walk through the kids section at the library would bring vastly different results. For younger kids, or those who claim they can’t write poetry, this activity opens a door to poetic thinking without the scary experience of staring at a blank page wondering what to write. Creating poetry using only book titles sets limitations, and allows kids to explore their creativity in a playful way. Kids can easily choose and change the order of the books in the same way they would solve a puzzle. In the process, they’ll evaluate what works, recognize what doesn’t and adjust their stack of books accordingly. It’s a quick, fun way to create something new, and all ages will enjoy the process.
Here’s another we created:
For a quick guide to creating book spine poetry with your kids, have a look at this lesson from Scholastic or this one from PBS.
Using book spines to create a poem is another form of found poetry, like blackout poetry:
Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.