James May, from Shelby Township, holds the books he chose for his book spine poetry entry.

James May, from Shelby Township, holds the books he chose for his book spine poetry entry.

Photo by Kara Szymanski


Book titles make for interesting poetry at the Utica library

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 22, 2019

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UTICA — The Utica Public Library made poetry both fun and interesting with a book spine poetry competition July 15.

From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 15, the library held a competition to see who could make the most interesting poetry out of book titles.

In order to do so, people were asked to pick out unique titles and stack them to create a poem using the book spines. After doing so, participants were asked to write their poems down on paper with their names and to take a picture and tag the library on Facebook to share the poems with others.

Everyone was invited to drop in and give their book spine poetry a try, and perhaps win prizes.

The book spine poetry program was part of the library’s summer reading program.

Katherine Francis, the children’s services coordinator, put the program together and explained how the program is a good way to let children experience poetry while also having fun.

“It’s sometimes introduced in elementary media center class. It’s a good introduction to getting their feet wet with poetry and knowing you can pretty much use whatever interesting sentence that means something to you. So, that’s kind of the fun. Doing it with books, you can just rearrange things and it could mean something different, and you’re supposed to just have fun with it,” she said.

Jocelynn Shamo chose the book titles “When You Are Brave,” “The Pigeon Needs a Bath” and “That Is Not a Good Idea!” for her poem entry.

James May, from Shelby Township, stopped in with his mother and chose the books “Harry the Dirty Dog,” “If I Ran the Circus,” “The Little Penguin” and “Can You Make a Scary Face?” for his book spine poetry.

He said he picked “Harry the Dirty Dog” first because he wanted to get the poem started.

“I thought it was interesting,” he said.

He worked with his mom for a while to pick out the best books for his poem.

Jennifer May, James’s mother, helped James find each book and read them to him to see if he liked the books he had chosen.

She said she really liked the program.

“They have a great summer reading program, and it’s open to everybody. I’m from Shelby, and I love the events that they do. We made slime, we made flubber, and the kids always come in and they pick books and earn something. We just got free McDonald’s coupons. They have a great program, very well put together. Very knowledgeable staff. We love coming here,” said Jennifer May.

Marsha Doege, the library director, said that the competition part gets kids a little more interested.

“Katy is going to judge the most creative of the entries; that gives a little extra interest. Plus, if we have several entries, the poems will probably be unique and diverse,” Doege said during the event.

Doege said the activity is a little harder than some of the others they have done, but once the kids got going, they really enjoyed the activity.

“It was good if they had a mom to kind of encourage them, and moms helped and that was fine too, you know. Some kids didn’t want to because it was a little bit harder and took a little bit more time, but it seemed as if the ones that did it enjoyed it, and even the ones that were reluctant joined in if their moms kind of got them going. They enjoyed it once they got into it. I just love it. I mean, I’m a poetry person,” said Doege.

Doege said programs such as book spine poetry get people to areas of the library that they might not normally explore.

“They go to the things that they most like, so they don’t always see everything else that’s in here. So an activity like this makes them kind of stop and look and see that they are outside their comfort zone, I guess you would say, to see the other titles that we have and to become more acquainted with the library, which is always good,” said Doege.

Just for participating in the program, each participant received an entry for a prize drawing.

The Utica Public Library is located at 7530 Auburn Road in Utica. For more information on programs, visit www.uticalibrary.com or call (586) 731-4141.

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