Book Spine Poetry

By - April 7th, 2017

Welcome back! Looking for a creative outlet to get your brain power flowing again? Celebrate National Poetry Month by making book spine poetry at the library. Stack books so that their titles, from top to bottom, create a poem.

On the main floor, Mrs. Kittler has set up an interactive display where you can view and contribute to our spine poetry collection – check it out!

Here’s my rather free-verse example, which features some of our shiny new arrivals:


History is all you left me 

In the country we love

Carry this book

To capture what we cannot keep.

(Click on the lines above to visit each book’s website.)


5 Tips for Spine Poetry Success:
  1. Look online for inspiration. School Library Journal’s website has galleries to get you started.
  2. Flip through our poetry collection. See this previous blog post for a few noteworthy anthologies.
  3. Stop by the children’s section on the main floor for fun and quirky titles.
  4. No time to roam the stacks? Use Ohrstrom’s online catalog to narrow down lines for your poem by subject, title, or author.
  5. Head over to the display to see what others came up with. Then add your own creation!

Happy browsing!

New Book Display: Immigration in America

By - Systems Librarian January 30th, 2017


A new book display is up in the Baker Reading Room – a gathering of books dealing with immigration in America. The poem Home by Warsaw Shire accompanies the display and begins with:


“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”


Stop by to read the poems and check out a book today.

View in Instagram ⇒














New Poetry at Ohrstrom

By - January 20th, 2017

When the weather gets frosty, why not head to Ohrstrom and dive into our new and featured poetry books? These three titles will get you thinking about topics including…


The nature of language:


Archeophonics, by Peter Gizzi

Wesleyan University Press

811 G45A

Archeophonics is the first collection of new work from the poet Peter Gizzi in five years. Archeophonics, defined as the archeology of lost sound, is one way of understanding the role and the task of poetry: to recover the buried sounds and shapes of languages in the tradition of the art, and the multitude of private connections that lie undisclosed in one’s emotional memory. The book takes seriously the opening epigraph by the late great James Schuyler: “poetry, like music, is not just song.” It recognizes that the poem is not a decorative art object but a means of organizing the world, in the words of anthropologist Clifford Geertz, “into transient examples of shaped behavior.” Archeophonics is a series of discrete poems that are linked by repeated phrases and words, and its themes and nothing less than joy, outrage, loss, transhistorical thought, and day-to-day life. It is a private book of public and civic concerns.” (National Book Award website)





The language of conflict:


Look: Poems, by Solmaz Sharif 

Graywolf Press

811 SH229L

“Solmaz Sharif’s astonishing first book, Look, asks us to see the ongoing costs of war as the unbearable loss of human lives and also the insidious abuses against our everyday speech. In this virtuosic array of poems, lists, shards, and sequences, Sharif assembles her family’s and her own fragmented narratives in the aftermath of warfare. Those repercussions echo into the present day, in the grief for those killed in America’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the discrimination endured at the checkpoints of daily encounter.
At the same time, these poems point to the ways violence is conducted against our language. Throughout this collection are words and phrases lifted from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms; in their seamless inclusion, Sharif exposes the devastating euphemisms deployed to sterilize the language, control its effects, and sway our collective resolve. But Sharif refuses to accept this terminology as given, and instead turns it back on its perpetrators. “Let it matter what we call a thing,” she writes. “Let me look at you.” (Author’s website)




The conflict of religion:


Scriptorium, by Melissa Range

Beacon Press

811 R16S

“The poems in Scriptorium are primarily concerned with questions of religious authority. The medieval scriptorium, the central image of the collection, stands for that authority but also for its subversion; it is both a place where religious ideas are codified in writing and a place where an individual scribe might, with a sly movement of the pen, express unorthodox religious thoughts and experiences. In addition to exploring the ways language is used, or abused, to claim religious authority, Scriptorium also addresses the authority of the vernacular in various time periods and places, particularly in the Appalachian slang of the author’s East Tennessee upbringing. Throughout Scriptorium, the historical mingles with the personal: poems about medieval art, theology, and verse share space with poems that chronicle personal struggles with faith and doubt.” (Publisher’s website)






First World War Archive: extracting everyman poetry

By - Research & Instruction Librarian November 4th, 2014

Below is a 3-minute video describing how to pull the everyman/amateur poetry from the library’s First World War Archive.


Looking for biography/analysis of well-known WWI poets?  Highly recommended are 2 of the library’s eRef collections: Salem Literature and Gale Virtual Reference Library.


Questions?  Thought?  Do be in touch!  😉  Ms. Sanborn


Poetry Break

By - Research & Instruction Librarian April 10th, 2014

robert frost photo

Taking a break from Humanities research?  As part of National Poetry Month want to then use that break to read biographical content about a favorite poet, or to enjoy an analysis of a favorite poem?

Consider the Literature eReference Collection from Salem Press, purchased by the Library.

Perhaps a little:

Of the grounds?  Do log in first, to  in order to access this content.

Photo by Mr. Littlehand

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