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Poetry Friday: Spiny

Poetry. Not really in my wheelhouse. I appreciate good poetry and applaud those who write it, but it’s not a genre that I feel very comfortable in.

The other day, I came across a type of poetry I’d never seen. It isn’t written, but chosen and arranged using the titles of books. Check out the remarkable work of Nina Katchadourian:

I can get into this. Below is my children’s book attempt:

Want to give it a try?

Snap a picture of your book spine poem and post it on your site, or email it to me at scopenotes@gmail.com. If there are some takers, I’ll post a gallery of your work on the next Poetry Friday.

Be sure to visit Teaching Books for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Brilliant. Made me laugh aloud!

  2. You are a true poet! This is an excellent form of poetry – but one that is far beyond my capabilities. I hope to see more, though!

  3. I’m off to the bookshelves to see what I can find! Fun fun fun!

    • I think you’ll have fun with it. It’s pretty cool how you can’t go in with an idea of what you want – it comes as you try different books. Thanks for giving it a go – I’m looking forward to what you come up with!

  4. The Toothpaste Millionaire! I forgot all about that book! Thanks for the reminder.

  5. What a hoot! I had heard of “found poems” before, but never using a book spine. Thanks!


  6. That’s fantastic! I just love it!

  7. I LOVE this! Thanks for the wonderful idea!

  8. What a wonderful idea! Here’s my first attempt: http://lightairspirit.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/book-spine-poetry/. I can’t wait to try it with middle schoolers and YA titles.

  9. Ha! I am going to have to try this one. I love reading the spines of books.

  10. Oh, this is fun! I’ve written centos before (poems made of book titles), but with some extra words added, too, as transitions. Here’s one I posted: http://laurasalas.livejournal.com/35494.html

    I guess if I tried this book spine method, I’m not gonna be able to cheat and add words!

  11. Travis,

    Great job. You are doing spine tingling poetry and Cindy is doing reversos. I am feeling the pressure! My students are at a special and this is my planning time–can’t wait to get home to check out all the hidden poems hiding on my shelf. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm maybe I will have to try to do a reverso with spines. That will take some backbone. Back to work!

  12. Can’t wait to try this at school tomorrow. I also have to do some digging. Somewhere I have a found poem I made from catalog cards before we automated. If I find it I’ll post it.

  13. LOVE it — and now I have both an April display AND student participation activity. Thanks for passing the idea along.

  14. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a
    blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% positive.
    Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.


  1. […] stumbled upon book spine poetry through  Travis Jonker’s children’s literature blog, 100 Scope Notes.  Travis borrows the idea from Nina Katchadourin, who has some wonderful compositions in her […]

  2. […] decided to share it on my children’s literature blog, 100 Scope Notes, and challenge others to give it a try. There […]