This is the best section out of all the shelves at my library.
There are so many things I love:
Even when the library is closed, the books press against each other to keep warm, sleeping until we wake them to leaf through their pages.
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!).