Book spine poem: Antarctica

A new book spine poem (aka bookmash):



Skating to Antarctica,
Desolation island –
A place apart where
The wasteland ends;
Soul on ice into
The silent land
The other side of you.


stan carey - book spine poem - antarctica


I planned to include The White South but didn’t find a satisfying spot for it. Thanks to the authors: Jenny Diski, Patrick O’Brian, Dervla Murphy, Theodore Roszak, Eldridge Cleaver, Paul Broks, and Salley Vickers; and to Nina Katchadourian for the idea.

Many more in the bookmash archive: have a browse, or make your own.

26 Responses to Book spine poem: Antarctica

  1. michaelcboxall says:

    Very nice. It’s got me squinting at the shelves again.

  2. jackkslattery13 says:

    I think this is your best booksmash – I wish I had more books myself so I could do these too.

  3. Roger says:

    spinal aesthetic — comes a bit too close to the kind of spinal.

  4. Roger says:

    spines: they’re the first thing libraries broke when they transferred
    books to film. Digitalizing might be painless, but the books
    are dumped, either way.

  5. alexmccrae1546 says:

    @Stan… at first blush/ read there, I thought your ‘mash’ was describing the less-than-perfect Sochi Winter Olympics. (Sorry… a little gulag humor there.)

    All kidding aside, I really liked your “Antarctic” ‘mash’. Up there with some of your other beauties. You really managed to create a palpable sense of place.

    I was almost going to say ‘sense of snow’, but then Smila would have likely demanded equal time. (Insider Danish lit reference.)

    Expect a fresh ‘bookmash’ from yours truly later today… guar-an-teed.

  6. Stan says:

    Michael: Thank you. Let us know if the squinting leads to inventing!

    Jack: Thanks very much. I guess the ice and the sibilance tie it together.

    Roger: I like the somatic correspondence spine produces.

    Alex: Thanks. It was Jenny Diski’s terrific book that got this one going. Looking forward to seeing yours.

  7. “Desolation Island”, yes, one of my favourites. And yet in a way I think of the whole A-M series as one wonderful novel.

  8. wisewebwoman says:

    Much as I tried, I couldn’t make a good mash out of my 4.

    Well done you!


  9. It is on the other side of me, actually, so I hope you’ll drop by on your way to recite this to the penguins. :-)

  10. annehodg says:

    Nice! I’d like to recommend the film to match your poem, Aloft by Claudia Llosa, set in snowy wastelands, involving a man and his new age-y mother and assorted falcons. Just premiered at the Berlinale in Berlin. Sense from nonsense.

    • Stan says:

      I like the sound of that. Thanks for the tip, Anne. (Your comment was caught by the spam filter, for unknown reasons, hence my delay in approving and replying to it.)

  11. Stan says:

    Ed: I’m still playing catch-up on the series. Much adventure awaits.

    WWW: That’s a tall order. Normally I need a lot to choose the few from.

    Adrian: So it is. I’ll be sure to stop by if I’m ever passing.

  12. Charles Sullivan says:

    Very nice.

  13. alexmccrae1546 says:

    As promised, here’s my ‘bookmash’ offering… for what it’s worth.

    –Under A Wild Sky–

    Under a wild sky
    Prodigal summer
    Book of longings
    Great expectations
    Wobegon Boy
    It’s a good life,
    If you don’t weaken

    Thanks to authors in order of top-to-bottom ‘stacking’— William Souder, Barbara Kingsolver, Leonard Cohen, Charles Dickens (oh, that guy), Garrison Keillor, and Seth* (G. Gallant).

    *This talented Canadian graphic novelist uses the nom de plume, “Seth”, but his actual surname is Gallant.

    P.S.: —Stan, will e-mail you the ‘stacked’ photo, shortly.

  14. Claude Prevost says:
  15. michaelcboxall says:

    BDSM quickie:
    Women on Top
    Smile, Please
    A Just Measure of Pain
    (photo at

  16. Stan says:

    Charles: Thank you.

    Claude: I’m afraid something happened to your comment in transit. I hope you didn’t go to too much trouble!

    Michael: Glad to see you joining in.

    Alex: Good one, and evocative. I like the duck, too. I read that book by Seth recently; was impressed by the artwork but not so taken by the writing. Anyway. Here’s yours, and thanks again for sharing it:

    • alexmccrae1546 says:

      Thanks Stan.

      I agree, Seth’s deceptively spare drawing style wins the day in his “It’s A Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken”.

      For me, at times Seth’s lengthly explicatory narrative blurbs giving the reader kind of backstory info, usually at the top of his cartoon panels, can get a bit tedious. Visually, a bit cluttered.

      It’s really his elegantly rendered balance of strong dark and light tonalities, and confident line work in all his graphic novels that I feel draws the reader into his slightly melancholic, shades-of-gray world.

      For any diehard comic book aficionado out there, I highly recommend Seth’s “Wimbledon Green”, published by Drawn & Quarterly in 2005.

      Nothing whatsoever to do w/ the hallowed Wimbledon tennis championships, or immaculately groomed courts. Rather, it’s a fictive chronicle of “The Greatest Comic Book Collector in the World”. Quite the litany of quirky characters in this one. Perhaps the quirkiest… the dapper and portly Mr. Green himself.

  17. Picky says:

    The Far Side of the World,
    Eastern Approaches.
    We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea:
    Is Paris Burning?

    Patrick O’Brian, Fitzroy Maclean, Arthur Ransome, Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre.

  18. Stan says:

    Thanks for sending this, Picky, and for playing. I’ve uploaded it below. Travel seems to be a recurring theme in bookmashes. I wonder if it’s just because of what’s on people’s shelves or if there’s more to it than that.

  19. alexmccrae1546 says:

    Welcome aboard Picky, my friend. You truly are an intrepid navigator of the ‘cyber seas’, matey. Never can predict in what ‘harbor’ you’ll set your anchor down, for a spell.

    Fine wee ‘mash’ there. (Sadly, we know Kiev is burning.)

    Your short-stack appears to be listing a tad, as if perchance you actually arranged these tomes whilst being tossed about, and buffeted on the roiling briny. Ha!

    I think the recurrence of travel-related bookmashes is partly to do w/ a subliminal, or even overt desire of the ‘masher’ to escape from the humdrum of their quotidian life, and that longing for adventure, newness, and discovery.

    But then again, how many personal libraries are dominated by travel-themed books. Yet, the subject matter of a ‘mash’-contributing book(s) doesn’t necessarily have to revolve around travel, even though the narrative of the resultant ‘mash’ pertains to travel.

    For me, It all comes down to the particular selection and coherent arrangement of those book spines/ titles, that can make, or break the integrity of the ‘mash’… be they, individually or collectively, musings on travel, or otherwise.

    • Picky says:

      Yep. About to keel over. Shappy. Aged. Like their owner.

      I suspect, by the way, that many non-travel books have a bit of topography in their titles.

  20. annevivid says:

    Lovely. Thank you.

  21. Stan says:

    Naomi and Anne, thanks very much, and welcome to Sentence first if it’s your first visit.

  22. […] featured: Diski in ‘Antarctica’; Barker in ‘Microworlds’ and ‘Inside Outer’ (and a post on reading coincidences); Smith […]

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