Book spine poem: Return from the Stars

It’s almost a year since my last book spine poem. Here’s a new one.


Return from the Stars

Return from the Stars,
A portable cosmos –
Island home buried in
The sky, the island of ghosts,
The uninhabitable Earth,
Kindred love, again,
Touching from a distance
The stars my destination.


Stack of books against a white background, their spines of various colours and sizes creating a found poem.


Thank you to the authors: Stanisław Lem, Alexander Jones, Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan, Eilís Dillon, David Wallace-Wells, Rebecca Wragg Sykes, Doris Lessing, Deborah Curtis, Catrina Davies, and Alfred Bester; and to Nina Katchadourian.

Lem has appeared here before, including in a previous book spine poem. Doris Lessing featured in one too. Eilís Dillon wrote a phrase (‘Wasn’t it herself told me’) that inspired my long essay on Irish English dialect. Kindred is one I read recently and liked a lot; this short Twitter thread includes an excerpt on Neanderthal storytelling.

‘Return from the Stars’ is book spine poem #48 for me. In the interests of round-number satisfaction I’ll try to make it 50 next year. You can see the others in my bookmash archive.


8 Responses to Book spine poem: Return from the Stars

  1. terrycollmann says:

    The poem is ruined if you use the original British title of Bester’s book, Tiger, Tiger – which is ironic, because, of coure, that title came from a poem …

  2. terrycollmann says:

    This is the best I could do:

    TIGER TIGER (Alfred Bester)
    BURNING BRIGHT (Tracy Chevalier)
    IN THE SHADOWS (Michael Ashcroft)
    (of the)
    NIGHT (Elie Wiesel)
    WHAT IMMORTAL HAND (Johnny Worthen)

  3. You are amazing!!!❤️

  4. Wonderful! Inspired to try this again.

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