NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 10 : Cracking the Spine



For today, I chose to do the prompt posted on


Today’s prompt comes to us from Lillian Hallberg. She challenges us to write a “book spine” poem. This involves taking a look at your bookshelves, and writing down titles in order (or rearranging the titles) to create a poem. Some fun images of book spine poems can be found here. If you want to take things a step further, Lillian suggests gathering a list of titles from your shelves (every third or fifth book, perhaps, if you have a lot) and using the titles, as close to the originals as possible, to create a poem that is seeded throughout with your own lines, interjections, and thoughts. Happy writing!


I’d been working on a 10-word, 48-hour contest poem for the CV2 annual April event (sorry registration closed Apr. 4) and there was just not enough hours today to tackle an intricate prompt. This one was indeed, a change of pace.  I simply scooped up an armful of poetry books and used those as my source. For the poem I selected about two thirds of the titles, and inserted four words (in parentheses) to round it out. The names of the poets appear below, in the order I used their titles.


Cracking the Spine

spine and hip bones

wood engraving (Wikipedia) spine and hip bones

Sailing the Forest
On Glassy Wings,
The Eternal Ones of Dream,
Coping with Emotions and Otters  (play)
Hide & Seek.

Stowaways (go)
Sprinting from the Graveyard.

Some bones and a story (make)
(A) Satisfying Clicking Sound.

Just Saying.

Carol A. Stephen
April 10, 2016

English: Skeleton animation


In order, titles from Ariel Gordon, Goran Simić, Robin Robertson, Anne Szumigalski, James Tate, Dina Del Bucchia, Susan Glickman, Charles Wright, Alice Major, Jason Guriel, Rae Armantrout


Ouliposter-Badge-Plum-300x300A univocalic text is one written with a single vowel. It is consequently a lipogram in all the other vowels. If he had been univocally minded, Hamlet might have exclaimed, “Be? Never be? Perplexed quest: seek the secret!” All words used must be sourced from your newspaper.



For the univocalism exercise I chose two articles, and two vowels, O and E, selecting all words in both pieces that contained either vowel.

Here are the words I have to work with:


on, of, cool, from, or, to, to, CO2, how, to, cool, cool, CO2, from, or, to, con, would, fool, to, from, so, slowly, on, from, both, should, of, tool, to, to, on, for, of, CO2, from, on, should, also, could, from, or, orb, to, short, of, pro, con, to, of, doubts, of, of, oxford, worth, to, to, of, among, of, to, of, of, on, now, work, on, for, to, on, to, to, worry, would, world’s, from, to, low, to, hold, not, work, of, how, to, pro, CO2, from, to, to, of, don’t, or, no, knows, to, or, to, to, cool, from, known, or, on, or, to, grow, crops, CO2, from, pow, to, CO2, CO2, from, only, opt, drop, long, cord, to, on, alcohol, ago, alcohol, for, down, from, of, to, port, drop, to, drop, con, long, of, to, drop, to, of, sold, also, to, of, sold, to, to, from, son, of, of, stood, from, on, of, alcohol, from, opt, from, of, from, for, to, down from, son, son.


sheets, germ, sheets, keep, the, melt, the, reflect, the, net, net, reflect, expert, press, week, whether, be, the, keep, check, the, week, the, the, the, every, reflect, seen, even, express, present, there, level, these, Steve, he, get, better, sense, whether, there’s, these, they, be, they, new, set, be, references, they be, energy, energy, seems, ever, rent, be, levels, the tech, yet, whether, they, tech, be, tech, effect, tech, them, effect, the, the, tested, energy, the, then, them, the, then, deep, net, effect, beer, term, trend, less, beer, spent, the, per cent, beer, the, the, ended, per cent, beer, fell, per cent, beer, per cent, the, term, trend, beer, the, per, per, beer, fell, grew, per cent, beer, fell, per cent, beer, per cent, were, per cent, the, per cent, the per cent, per, per, per, per, the, beer, per cent, the, term, per cent, per cent the, netted, the, end.

Here are my draft Univocalism poems, INCLUDING the titles, although I stretched a bit using numbers for the first one:


Alcohol Sold 2013 = $21B

ball-and-stick model of CO2: carbon dioxide

ball-and-stick model of CO2: carbon dioxide (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Crops grow for alcohol
world ports drop—
sold from son to son.

How to cool?
CO2, would work
to cool.

Sons worry,
doubt worth,
opt for alcohol
drop down
from cool to fool—



A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer.

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keep the sheets.
Check the germ level.

The net effect every week
seems better whether beer per cent fell.

The term trend references less energy spent,
the deep expert levels set.

The beer tech, tested,
netted end present germ energy effect.

– CAS April 11, 2014



(Unfortunately I am unable to show the text I used to select my words, as neither chosen articles appear in the digital edition, only in print. CAS)

 Canadian Press, The Canadians are buying more wine, less beer, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 11, 2014 F1

 Ritter, Karl The Associated Press, A cool idea or mad science? Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 11, 2014 C5

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