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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book spine poetry

The concept of book spine poetry appeared in 1993 with Nina Katchadourian's Sorted Books project. Katchadourian began collecting interesting titles and arranging them in clusters so the spines could be read like a sentence. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings adapted the spine sentences into poetry, and the idea quickly spread around the interwebs. LibraryThing even ran a Book Spine Poetry contest earlier this year (with Katchadourian as a guest judge). Here, we've rounded up some of our favorite examples of the medium.

Sorted Books project

The Sorted Books project began in 1993 years ago and is ongoing. The project has taken place in many different places over the years, ranging form private homes to specialized public book collections. The process is the same in every case: culling through a collection of books, pulling particular titles, and eventually grouping the books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, from top to bottom. The final results are shown either as photographs of the book clusters or as the actual stacks themselves, shown on the shelves of the library they were drawn from. Taken as a whole, the clusters from each sorting aim to examine that particular library's focus, idiosyncrasies, and inconsistencies — a cross-section of that library's holdings. At present, the Sorted Books project comprises more than 130 book clusters.