Book spine poem: Useless Crazy Heart

A new book spine poem. My shelves have been nudging me.


Useless Crazy Heart

All about love, the devil I know,
Style, solace, the entwining truth,
Conquest of the useless crazy heart,
The pleasure of finding things out.


stan carey - book spine poem bookmash - useless crazy heart


Thanks to the authors: bell hooks, Claire Kilroy, Joseph M. Williams, Belinda McKeon, Richard Condon, Peter Temple, Werner Herzog, Thomas Cobb, and Richard Feynman; and to Nina Katchadourian for the idea.

Want to join in? Do – it’s all sorts of fun. Upload a photo and post a link in the comments, or put it on your own site, etc. If you’d like to see more of these, there are lots in the Sentence first bookmash archive.

18 Responses to Book spine poem: Useless Crazy Heart

  1. SlideSF says:

    I think it should be considered cheating to use one-word book titles in a bookmash. I mean, if you have enough of them you’re just making up a poem that has nothing to do with book titles.

  2. Mary says:

    I’ve been admiring your book spine poems for a while, and I finally decided to give it a try myself. My first effort is at
    Thanks for the inspiration. It is great fun.

  3. wisewebwoman says:

    Daughter is a mad fan of bell hooks. Interesting titles there Stan, it’s been a while since I did a blog tour so must visit your other posts now.

  4. Love this. Great poem ;)

  5. Stan says:

    SlideSF: Cheating? Wow. Luckily I disagree.

    Mary: That’s terrific – I really like it. Thanks for joining in, and for posting a link here.

    WWW: I like her too. I’m catching up as well after a busy spell of work: blogging and blog-reading always suffer when this happens.

    Joanne: Thank you. :-)

  6. alexmccrae1546 says:

    I’m kind of in agreement w/ blogmeister Stan on the usefulness and legitimacy of using one-word book titles. It’s hardly cheating, in my view.

    I can’t really envision a string of one-word book titles being that interesting, following up on blogger SlideSF’s hypothetical scenario.

    As one of this blog’s regulars, I’ve offered up several ‘book-mashes’ since coming on board, and w/ many of those I’ve incorporated singular word titles, which for me have been key in moving the poetic narrative along.

    Two of my favorites have been Canadian writer Margaret Atwood’s early novel, “Surfacing”, and South African author J. M. Coetzee’s “Disgrace”.

    Clearly, one-word titles are few-and-far-between, so I’m always pleased when one might happen to show up in my personal library… not that I go out of my way to hunt them down. Ha!

  7. SlideSF says:

    All right, I will bow to the wisdom of my superiors here. Perhaps there is something special about the words used in one-word book titles that gives them a poetic quality. Although, Mr Carey, as you are the author of this blog, I doubt luck has anything to do with it ;)

    A few of my favorites: “Shear” by Tim Parks, “Despair” by Valdimir Nabokov, “Persuasion” by Jane Austen.

  8. Obviously there is no cheating (bookmashes are an artform, not a puzzle); there is only personal taste.

    And tastes will differ. For example, I prefer bookmashes in which the caption is as superfluous as possible: in which the punctuation and line breaks are obvious from the photograph alone. But that’s just me, and other people are welcome to disagree…

  9. Stan says:

    Thanks, Alex. I use one-word titles occasionally: they never dominate, but a poem can turn nicely on one when it’s integrated well.

    SlideSF: I meant I’m lucky to feel otherwise. :-)

    Adrian: Exactly. For example, I have a different view when it comes to captioning – sometimes a line break not apparent in the photo is key to how a poem reads, as in ‘breaking/The spell’ and ‘rumble/Tumble’. Part of the fun for me can be in engineering these discrepancies.

  10. alexmccrae1546 says:

    Tried to restrain myself, but couldn’t resist offering up a bookmash this time around… keeping up my consistent string over these many months.

    So here’s my offering, for what it’s worth:


    A supposedly fun thing
    I’ll never do again
    I dream a world…
    Songlines and dreamings
    A communion of the spirits
    My crowd!

    Thanks to authors (or editors) in order of ‘stacking’: Alice Munro, David Foster Wallace, Brian Lanker/ Barbara Summers, Patrick C. Stourton, Roland L. Freeman, and last, but hardly least, cartoonist Charles Addams.

    @Stan… will e-mail you a photo of my bookmash ‘short-stack’, shortly.

    Thanks, again, for this periodic challenging exercise in creativity, and wordplay. Wish more readers would take the plunge and participate.

    Thought commenter Mary’s recent, first-time effort was outstanding. She really gets it, (or, got it) in my view.

  11. Stan says:

    Alex, thank you. Always a pleasure. A Supposedly Fun Thing… was the first book I read by DFW, and it remains an old favourite; I’ve reread those essays a couple of times now. Not an easy one to incorporate into a found poem either, so kudos. Here’s your photo:

  12. alexmccrae1546 says:

    Mashed together another bookmash, today, that I thought may tickle some fancies out there.

    Without further ado I give you:

    “The Reason I Jump”

    The reason I jump
    …Ask the dust
    Delicious solitude,
    Sheer magic…
    Courage my love

    Thanks to authors in order of ‘stacking’… top-to-bottom— Naoki Higashida, John Fante, Susan Goldman Rubin, Anthony Storr, Allen Jones, and Merle Shain.

    @Stan…. Will e-mail you the photo of the ‘mash’ stack, shortly. Had to toss in a few single-word titles there, to keep it interesting, Ha!

  13. Stan says:

    Thanks, Alex. Good use of single-word titles! Here it is:

  14. erikleo says:

    Great idea to have photos of books with poems. Ive one on my blog which uses titles of Colin Wilson’s books. (I’m a fan of his<)

  15. […] film adaptation is an old favourite. Earlier bookmashes featured other books by Edna O’Brien, Peter Temple, and Sinéad […]

  16. […] also featured a couple of Temple’s novels in book spine poems: Truth in ‘Useless Crazy Heart‘, and The Broken Shore in ‘A Quiet […]

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