A while back, my wife shared with me something she had heard about on a podcast, a form of poetry that (I think) was called a bookmash – poems that are formed from arranging book titles on your shelves into some semblance of a narrative. I thought it was kind of interesting but I was busy at the time with something else and soon forgot about it.
Until I sat down to write a blog for BN.com about Valentine’s Day, which is only a few days away. Surrounded by literally thousands of books, I was trying to come up with an idea when it hit me. It was, in fact, staring me in the face!
I could write a (hopefully coherent) Valentine’s Day poem for my wife by just using the titles of books in my library!
Bouquets of flowers and boxes of candy are so uninspired, I thought, this could potentially be a really cool (albeit geeky) and romantic gift! I set out to construct my poem…
…and this is what I created.
strangers flirt, flesh and fire
a kiss of shadows
seduce me in dreams
The dance of time, a million open doors
gateway, sanctuary, paradise
dark destiny, good omens
together we spin
time enough for love, eternity
the diamond age
the princess bride, the summer queen
the king of dreams, dark lover
the fountains of paradise
the gates of heaven
Strangers by Gardner Dozois
Flirt by Laurell K. Hamilton
Flesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman
Seduce Me in Dreams by Jacquelyn Frank
The Dance of Time by Eric Flint and David Drake
A Million Open Doors by John Barnes
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
Sanctuary by Mercedes Lackey
Paradise by Judith McNaught
Dark Destiny by Christine Feehan
Together by Martha Fawcett
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison
Eternity by Greg Bear
The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Summer Queen by Joan D. Vinge
The King of Dreams by Robert Silverberg
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
The Gates of Heaven by Curt Benjamin
Ecstasy by Jacquelyn Frank
Ever After by Kim Harrison
If you’re so inclined, go to your nightstand or bookshelves, make up your own poem, and post it here. I’d love to see what you come up with!
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.