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.

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

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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