Book spine poem: Listening to the Wind

It’s been a while since I made a book spine poem (aka bookmash). This one is overdue, but thanks to Edna O’Brien it’s also a month early:


Listening to the Wind

Connemara –
listening to the wind,
the songs of trees, wild
December’s nocturnes
on your doorstep,
Going home one by one
in the darkness.


A stack of horizontal books, their spines facing out to form the poem quoted. The books are more or less centred, and the colours of their spines (orange, black, white and green, a few blues) creates a contrast with the blank white background.


Thanks to the authors: Tim Robinson, David George Haskell, Edna O’Brien, Kazuo Ishiguro, Heather Greer, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Deirdre Madden; and to Nina Katchadourian.

Edna O’Brien and Deirdre Madden have both featured a few times on Sentence first, including in previous bookmashes. Heather Greer’s book, a beautifully illustrated guide to the moths and butterflies of Connemara, is one I did some editing on, years ago.

Have you made a book spine poem yet?

10 Responses to Book spine poem: Listening to the Wind

  1. Kate Kelly says:

    Thanks for making my morning.
    Kate Kelly

  2. Franc Bell says:

    Dia dhuit a chara,

    This made me think of this poem by Roger McGough.

    Today’s Recipe – Book Soup

    Choose a book with plenty of fat on it. Your local
    bookseller will be happy to advise you on this.
    He’ll probably suggest a dictionary or a nice juicy
    biography or even an anthology which is a very
    popular cut at the moment. Mash the book into a pulp,
    add some bacon rind, a dash of poetry criticism
    and season to taste. Heat in a low oven
    (preferably under eighteen inches) until thickened.
    Serve hot with deep fried crispy bookworms.

    There’s another thing it reminds me of and that’s the entry to the bookshop in la Rue Neuve in (Old) Lyon where you have to go through an archway of books stuck together to get in.

  3. An excellent poem, Stan, and we won’t endorse your poetic licence for putting an apostrophe into Edna O’Brien’s title …

    • Stan Carey says:

      Thanks, Martyn. My house rule is that I can change punctuation and capitalisation but not spelling (and I can’t add or omit words). This is the first time I’ve inserted an apostrophe, and I mulled over it. You could say it’s more spelling than punctuation, but I think once the word is put in the poem, it’s sufficiently liberated. Plus, it scratches this editor’s grammatical itch. =)

  4. Robert says:

    I made some for National Poetry Month a few years ago, using only poetry titles. I haven’t done any since, but maybe it’s time.

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