Book spine poetry’s beauty lies in its simplicity and serendipity, a haiku writes itself on the shelving trolley or in wayward piles on a researcher’s desk. What is the next evolutionary step for book spine poetry? Perhaps movable type on books or automated book spine poems in the style of Philip Parker’s computer-generated books – see McManus’ article, “Dr Parker’s latent library and the death of the author: a philosophical inquiry”. Another possibility is a book collage, where monographs huddle together at night in schoolyard (classification) cliques behind the bicycle shed to create teeming undignified title clusters, a bibliographic laboratory of nonsensical petri dishes like this book collage:
Title links lead to Trove or National Library records:
It just goes to show that Red Riding Hood could have faced a much worse challenge – dinosaurs, giraffes and hippopotamuses. The dinosaurs in the pop-up book are much more three dimensional than the impression given in this photograph of a paper Apatosaurus – presumably named as it’s an affection-loving sauropod. You can see only part of Our jungle friends, the giraffe’s story in the photo, so here’s an excerpt:
Which jungle friend’s tall, slender, spotted?
No doubt you’ll guess – Giraffe.
He’s very fine and graceful,
And yet he makes one laugh.
I wonder what would happen,
If he should go to buy
A silken scarf
or a tie?
…I think what would happen is that the shopping talking giraffe would be rewarded with capture, for displaying such unique skills.
Red Riding Hood is a facsimile of one of the first shape books published in America in 1863, you can see way the cover follows the shape of her silhouette. It’s also very tiny – 18 by 7 centimetres and kept in a little envelope. The Light zine: dumb clouds and blowy guys can also function as a lantern (it has lots of cut-out cellophane cloud bits) and is made by Poodle productions. The other zine, Some things are impossible is by Andrea Ryer and is a must-read.
Even though book spine poems can be deeply insightful, sometimes they’re just a fancy version of the search engine BananaSlug –words smashing together to see what happens, a lovely creative bibliographic possibility (just like a library!).