Book spine poem: After the fire

New bookmash! This one’s a bit conflagrationary.

[click to enlarge]

stan carey book spine poem - after the fire


After the fire

Red gold
Beyond black,
Incendiary collapse
When you are engulfed in flames:
A bright red scream
From out of the city,
After the fire
A still small


Thanks to the authors: Alan Furst, Hilary Mantel, Chris Cleave, Jared Diamond, David Sedaris, Marilee Strong, John Kelly, and Evie Wyld; and to Nina Katchadourian for the idea.

You can see older book spine poems here. Feel free to join in – you’ll never look at your bookshelves in quite the same way again.

Edit: This poem is featured on the WordPress news blog Hot Off the Press for National Poetry Month.


18 Responses to Book spine poem: After the fire

  1. deshipley says:

    I enjoy a bit of book spine poetry now and again, though I’ve only composed two, so far. It’s a strange and satisfying exercise, looking at titles as pieces of a new, meaningful whole.

  2. Sorry, non riuscire ad interagire con lei, causa la lingua, la traduzione non sempre è fedele, alle volte escono fuori frasi senza senso. Oggi sono riuscita a capire che si tratta di proporre dei libri di poesia ed altro, i titoli mi piacciono sono originali. Anch’io scrivo: raccontini, spaccati di vita, riflessioni, naturalmente nella mia lingua: l’italiano.

  3. Claire Stokes says:

    Wishing you a wonderful rebirth and many happy tomorrows! Warmly..

  4. Love this idea. Great poem. I may have to try this.

  5. Stan Carey says:

    Danielle: Yes, that’s well put. I often end up dissatisfied with mine, but it’s still a nice way to play with found phrases.

    Anna Maria: Even nonsense has its merits, in poetry in particular.

    Claire: Thank you! I’m practising my smouldering now.

    Brine: It’s a fun way to spend time staring at your bookshelves.

  6. elmediat says:

    Excellent concept & execution.

  7. jadekibue says:


  8. zerthspirit says:

    this is a bit brilliant

  9. Stan Carey says:

    jadekibue, zerthspirit, thank you.

  10. […] Inspired by  Stan Carey’s Book spine poem: After the Fire […]

  11. […] “Spine Poetry” by Stan Carey […]

  12. I find spine poetry a fascinating way to compose a poem. Being a retired librarian, I guess the appeal to me is not surprising.

  13. […] In 2015 I featured Beyond Black in a book spine poem, ‘After the […]

  14. […] a single Google hit: digital gold. Red Gold, incidentally, featured in a book spine poem I made some years ago. Eventually I’ll take all those books off the […]

  15. […] coincidences); Smith in posts on compulsive pedantry and mutual unintelligibility; Furst in ‘After the Fire’ and a post on a significant hyphen; O’Brien in various places; […]

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