Book spine poem: Trespass in a Strange Room

A new book spine poem, aka bookmash, this one a mixture of recent reads and newly acquired to-be-reads. (Click to enlarge the photo.)


Trespass in a Strange Room

Trespass in a strange room –
Criminal shadows, a severed head,
John Brown’s body waiting for an angel,
Destination: morgue!


stan carey book spine poem - trespass in a strange room*

Thanks to the authors: Rose Tremain, Damon Galgut, David Canter, Iris Murdoch, A.L. Barker, Helon Habila, and James Ellroy; and to artist Nina Katchadourian.

If you’re new to this game and drawn to the idea, I have over 30 book spine poems in the archive along with assorted commentary and links.

21 Responses to Book spine poem: Trespass in a Strange Room

  1. limlom says:

    You inspired me to write my own:

    Gyors és lassú gondolkodás
    megy a világ.
    Kutya csillagkép:
    a magyar beszéd.

    [Thinking, fast and slow,
    the world goes on.
    Sirius’s constellation:
    the Hungarian tongue.]

    More importantly, I no longer feel guilty about having stacks of books around me. They are found poetry in the making.

    It’s 36C in Budapest, so I feel a double affinity with this poem right now. In many languages a heatwave derives from “Canicula” from Canis Major, The Dog Star; Sirius. So in English, if you want to be fancy, you can say “canicular days” or “dog days”; Irish Gaeilge its “laethe madrúla” (which means “dog days”); Hungarian it’s: kánikula; French: canicule; Spanish: canícula.

    • Stan Carey says:

      This is great, Limlom, and the first example I’ve seen in Hungarian. Found poetry in the making is how I’ve come to see my bookshelves sometimes too; it’s a diverting way to spend time with them.

      I didn’t know the extent of the connection between canis and hot days. I don’t use a version of the phrase myself but know it best through the film Dog Day Afternoon.

  2. thebluebird11 says:

    AWESOME!! have played with something similar when looking thru yellow pages (phone directory), looking at categories across top of pages, but book mash is even better! LOVE IT!

    • Stan Carey says:

      It is such fun, bluebird. Let me know if you start playing with your own book spines!

      • astraya says:

        I once had a colleague who had previously worked for a company manufacturing and printing envelopes. By the alphabetisation of Yellow Pages, they were on the same page as escort agencies. He said they got some interesting phone calls.
        One volume of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is titled ‘Back to Bolivia’.

  3. I always enjoy these, Stan.

  4. Mise says:

    That exclamation mark in ‘Destination: Morgue!’ is rather intriguing; you’d be inclined to read it to see whether it is warranted or a touch of flamboyance on the part of the author.

    • Stan Carey says:

      It is, Mise, and unusual for a book title. It’s one I picked up recently and have not yet read, a collection of non-fiction articles and three interlinked novellas, apparently.

  5. Ian Preston says:

    My effort: A meditation on the state of economics, drawn entirely from my office shelves.

    What’s the use of economics?
    Who do we think we are?
    Complex analysis.
    Fallen heroes,
    On what matters

  6. This was so clever! :)

  7. Div and Bean says:

    This is such a different creative outlook :) What has been your favourite read so far? (I have just finished my book and am looking for something else).

    • Stan Carey says:

      Of the seven in this photo, I’ve read four: Criminal Shadows, A Severed Head, John Brown’s Body, and Waiting for an Angel. Iris Murdoch’s was the one I liked best, but people’s tastes are very different when it comes to books.

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