Book Spine Poetry: Museum Edition

The charismatic chaos of museums, captured in book spines.

While I just missed National Poetry Month, I wanted to play with an idea I encountered from Maria Popova on her always creative, interesting, and well-worth-reading site Brain Pickings.  During April (actual National Poetry Month), she shared a series of posts that showcased her talents in the field of book spine poetry (aka using the titles of books printed on their spines to create freeform poetry).  Apparently book spine poems have been all the rage these past few years, so I thought I would try my hand in some creative book spine arrangement.  Here is my first attempt:

The inadvertent poets:

  • Museums in a Troubled World by Robert Janes — although his subtitle frightens me, “Renewal, Irrelevance, or Collapse?”
  • Letting Go? edited by Bill Adair, Benjamin Filene, and Laura Koloski, and a great read that shows how much art museums can learn from the practices of public history.
  • Engaging Art edited by Steven Tepper and Bill Ivey, includes the great essay “Artistic Expression in the Age of Participatory Culture” by Henry Jenkins and Vanessa Bertozzi.
  • Conversation Pieces, the excellent book by Grant Kester on creating understanding in contemporary art through creative dialogue.
  • Making Museums Matter by Stephen Weil — just read this recap of Nina Simon’s 2011 MidAtlantic speech.
  • Teaching in the Art Museum by Rika Burnham and Elliott Kai-Kee, the Jedi knights of museum education.
  • Out of Our Minds by Sir Ken Robinson — although you’d think he could come up with a more creative title (joking).

Submit your own!

Send me your own book spine poem on museums — just use TwitPic or shoot me a link to your pic via Twitter @murawski27.  I will happily post everyone’s poems that I receive, and we can add to volume 1 of book spine poetry.  It can be a great way to take a midday break, and take a few minutes to tap into your creative self.

Book Spine Poem from Stephanie Ruse ‏ @smruse

Awesome!  Thanks Stephanie!

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4 comments

  1. I do this during education tours with the titles of artworks in the museum.
    Currently we have a very evocatively titled exhibition, ‘As If’ a retrospective of the works by painter Ken Whisson. Below is my poem:

    Angels and Phantoms
    Brothers Early Morning
    Man Seated
    Fisherman and Boats
    Domestic Machine
    Faces and Large Boats
    Face on Wall Opposite
    Angels and Phantoms

  2. Christine, I love it! What a great strategy to connect poetry with an exploration of an exhibition or collection area. I’ll have to try that sometime.

  3. A friend/colleague of mine just shared this link through Facebook — artist Nina Katchadourian’s “Sorted Books” project. Check it out!
    http://www.ninakatchadourian.com/languagetranslation/sortedbooks.php

  4. Wonderful found poem exercise!

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