Book spine poem: Grand Central Station

A new (and characteristically overdue) bookmash! Also known as a book spine poem. Here goes.


Grand Central Station

By Grand Central Station
I sat down and wept:
Spill, simmer,
Falter, wither,
A Belfast woman a far cry
from Kensington.

The leaves on grey,
The introvert’s way,
The woman who talked
to herself:
If you leave me,
Can I come too?

The joke’s over –
The song is you.




Thank you to the authors: Elizabeth Smart, Sara Baume, Mary Beckett, Muriel Spark, Desmond Hogan, Sophia Dembling, A.L. Barker, Cynthia Heimel, Ralph Steadman, and Megan Abbott; and to Nina Katchadourian.

I’ve yet to read the Spark and the Steadman, both recent acquisitions; the others I’ve enjoyed, for the most part. Muriel Spark has featured a few times here before, A.L. Barker a couple of times, including in earlier book spine poems. Cynthia Heimel appeared more recently, in a post about the spelling heighth.

Sometimes Sentence first readers join in the fun of bookmashing (and oh, what fun it is). Let me know if you do.

26 Responses to Book spine poem: Grand Central Station

  1. Aiza Chaudry says:

    amazing list. Added to my goodreads.

  2. This is incredible! I love this poem! I’m new to your site — are these books on your “to read” list, or “recently read” list?

    • Stan Carey says:

      Thank you, Stacy, and welcome! A Far Cry from Kensington and The Joke’s Over are on my to-read shelf; the others are in my fairly-recently-read pile, awaiting storage.

  3. Couldn’t be better! Amazing snips!

  4. Liz says:

    Muriel Spark has some great titles. Food for future mashs I’m sure.

  5. Liz says:

    Mashes, dammit.

  6. scarlett1000 says:

    Love the poem! What an original idea. Ooh I am excited to discover ‘A Belfast Woman’ (what with being one myself and all!) and a couple of other great reads there too. This is like a perfect post for me to read – books books and more books…..just can’t get enough of them. THANK YOU!

    • Stan Carey says:

      Thank you, and you’re welcome! I don’t know who originally did this, but I saw it first from the artist Nina Katchadourian. My bookmash tag has a few dozen more, as well as links to other people’s. Once you start making them you’ll never look at your bookshelf in quite the same way again. :-)

  7. Tim Martin says:

    Two interesting tidbits on this one:

    Kensington is also a neighborhood in Brooklyn, so from Grand Central she’s actually not too far away!

    Second, some New Yorkers like to be pedantic about the fact that the station’s name is “Grand Central Terminal” (not station), but that seems a bit prescriptivist given that lots of people know it as “station.”

    Thanks for sharing the bookmash!

    • Stan Carey says:

      Those are interesting titbits, thank you. I wondered if a geographical correspondence would emerge but didn’t pursue the possibility. It’s nice to think Kensington has NY-local meaning, and of course a ‘far cry’ has multiple meanings in the context.

  8. chris says:

    Love this one! One of my favorite spine poems so far.

  9. Bob Brown says:

    I must visit more often. Too often my reading is analogous to throwing a flat pebble just to watch it skip over the smooth water. Bookmashing is new to me. Love that poem.

    • Stan Carey says:

      Thank you, Bob. My blogging rate has slowed considerably, which may be just as well. But I can happily recommend bookmashing as an excellent way to pass an hour.

  10. larastillo says:

    Love this! First I’ve heard of a “bookmash.” I love communication, language, and growth of understanding. I work in the health field now, but got my bachelor’s in literature and enjoyed the whole journey. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are two of my favorite books (love the origin of your blog title). Thank you!

    • Stan Carey says:

      Thank you, Lara! I think a background in literature benefits just about any field. And I appreciate the note on my blog’s name. This time last year I wrote a few posts on language in Lewis Carroll’s work: if you’re interested, you can find them on Macmillan Dictionary’s humour in English page.

      • larastillo says:

        Thank you for this, Stan! I love Lewis Carroll’s writing style in the Alice books; a large part of why they’re two of my favorites:)) I’ll check out your link!

      • larastillo says:

        Just read your blog post “Language, logic, and Lewis Carroll.” Great! Thank you! So love his writing in the Alice books – clever nonsense with humor, lessons, and that mix of child-logic with adult rules. Enjoyed how you wrote about it:))

  11. […] of these books and authors have featured before. You can browse the full archive of book spine poems, which also includes […]

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