Closing National Poetry Month while Packing Books for Storage

Posted on Apr 27 2010 - 3:33pm by Winnie Hsiu

As National Poetry Month (April) comes to a close, some particularly raucous and rambunctious poetry lovers have decided to celebrate by inventing a new form of poetry: book spine poetry. Book spine poetry is well-suited to packing books for a move or for storing, and may be a good method for enticing children to become involved in packing or unpacking books. Children may want to record their poems in a journal, or write them on the sides of the boxes they are packing. Or children may wish to illustrate their poems, personalizing their book boxes with drawings that may help them identify the boxes quickly later, when they are ready to unpack. Children who are sending packages of books to other children may also enjoy arranging the spines of the books so that their titles convey a secret message.

Book spine poetry works especially well for making short, haiku-like poems. For example, children placing certain well known titles into a book box — or unpacking books onto a shelf — could make the following poem:

If You Give a Moose a Muffin

The Very Hungry Caterpillar


Alternatively, they might come up with something like the following:

Close Your Eyes

Sammy and the Dinosaurs

Just Go to Bed!

Or, they might think of something like this:

Where Is the Green Sheep?

I Lost My Bear

Taking Care of Mom

Poetry lovers who are interested in storage, and who do not have to occupy children, may want to mark the end of National Poetry Month by checking out Storage Space: a Collection of Contemporary Poetry, by Darren Stein. Storage Space is named after the first poem in the collection, which is a poem of thanksgiving for the storage space used by the narrator to hold his “warm reminders of an earlier time.”  Stein writes,

“My little storeroom is a window to my soul–a snapshot

of all my hopes and dreams, my memories, and relationships.

To discard it would be to reject a little part of myself–to amputate

that which I find meaningful.

We all need a little space to store the things we treasure, no

matter if its worth cannot be weighed in gold.”

National Poetry Month has been held every April since 1996, when it was organized by the Academy of American Poets.

Sources used:

Academy of American Poets. “National Poetry Month.”

Jonker, Travis. “Poetry month gallery: student book spine poems.” 100 Scope Notes. March 30, 2010.

Lehman, John. “Review: Storage space: a collection of contemporary poetry.”

Stein, Darren A. Storage Space: A Collection of Contemporary Poetry. Xlibris Corporation, 2008, p. 9.