Treason’s Harbour (a book spine poem)

I’m a day late for National Poetry Day, so this post can serve to suggest its year-round continuation in practice – even for elliptical found poems assembled from book spines. Click to enlarge:


stan carey - book spine poem - treason's harbour


Treason’s Harbour

Explorations of the marvellous
Mazes and labyrinths by salt water:
Treason’s harbour.
Quarantine the sleepwalkers,
The Sufis, the inheritors,
Nothing happens in Carmincross.

Thanks to the authors and editors: Peter Nicholls, W. H. Matthews, Angela Bourke, Patrick O’Brian, Jim Crace, Arthur Koestler, Idries Shah, William Golding, and Benedict Kiely.

More book spine poems, aka bookmashes, in the archives. I see the Lakeside Theatre at University of Essex is having a bookmash contest for tickets to a radio writing workshop (it links to mine for illustration). Good luck to the entrants!

8 Responses to Treason’s Harbour (a book spine poem)

  1. Hah, looks like we both have exactly the same edition of The Sleepwalkers. Mine’s a 1973 reprint from Penguin Books Australia, but the blue spine is identical (apart from the sticky tape etc).

    • Stan says:

      Adrian: Sounds like our editions are essentially the same. I was able to direct someone quickly to my copy on a shelf in a different county by decribing the spine (“fat, blue, Penguin”). It’s still the Koestler book I remember most fondly, though I haven’t read them all.

      • I have the anthology Bricks to Babel and have read at least part of Darkness at Noon (because it’s always wise to read a book bought as a gift for someone else). I also have David Cesarani’s biography of Koestler, The Homeless Mind.

  2. Mise says:

    These are among my favourites of your posts, meaningful constructions of incidental meaning.

    • Stan says:

      Thanks, Mise. I’m not sure this one’s parts hold together very well, but so be it. I’m reading The Inheritors today, so was extra glad to be able to use it here.

  3. alexmccrae1546 says:

    In the spirit of National Poetry Day (admittedly two days removed), I offer this ‘spinal fusion’, otherwise know as a bookmash.

    (I confess, Margaret Atwood’s “Surfacing” has appeared in another of my earlier ‘mashes’. My Canadian bias is showing through. HA!)

    Here’s my offering:

    “Radiance From the Waters”

    A communion of spirits
    Radiance from the waters
    Ways of the rivers
    The sensuous immortals


    Credit were it is due, in order of stacking, top-to-bottom— Roland L. Freeman, Sylvis Ardyn Boone, Anderson & Peek, Pratapaditya Pal, and last, but hardly least, Margaret Atwood.

    Stan, will send along an e-mail, shortly, w/ the photo illustrating my

    Oh bye-the-bye, Stan, I noticed in your posted accompanying photo that you sandwiched your ‘mash’ of titles between the blank ‘end pages’ of two other books. Works well, but what was you’re motivation in deviating from your usual presentation? Inquiring minds want to know.

    I think you are far too modest. IMHO this last ‘mash’ of yours was quite strong, evocative, engaging, and perhaps one of your best, to date.

  4. Stan says:

    Thanks, Alex. Do you mean the books with spines facing away, at the top and bottom? I usually do this. There’s no overriding motivation, but it helps me frame the found poem. I like yours too; here it is:

  5. aeh1 says:

    Reblogged this on Barnsley Writers and commented:
    How about trying a book spine poem? Good poem-brain exercise!

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