Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Sorted Book" Poetry

 Yes, there is a semblance of order to this chaos, once you realize that what I'm attempting here is 'sorted book' poetry.  Inspired by a prompt at dVerse poets this week, we were challenged to create our own sorted book poetry in the tradition of  Nina Katchadourian, author of Sorted Books, who is the founder of sorted poetry and has been scouring libraries all over the world in order to create these lovely photographical vignettes for the past two decades.  

Below are four of my own 'sorted book' poems.  Below each image  you'll find a more 'fleshed out' version of the poem.  

"Full Circle"

a lake in the clouds
of a secret garden
where there lives
a family of women
under one roof.
A circle of three,
the perfect square.


Before women had wings
a mermaid chair
in the river sweet
sat the witch of portobello,
a virtuous woman
devious deerdancer
who saved the fish from drowning.

"The Art of Sin"

The last time I saw you,
a girl in translation,
going down you spoke
the informed argument
of how to be lost
amongst the academy of art,
freshman road trip
in bungalow 2,
the mythical curse
of astrology and relationships,
and the sins you commited
before Christ,
your strange fits of passion
turning on the girls.

"Of Ordinary Women"

Outside the ordinary world
there lives a bad girl, the waitress,
wifey of Vivaldi's virgins
heavy in her iron shoes
dancing at the harvest moon
and looking for mr goodfrog,
does she or doesn't she?

It seems my poetry is usually indicative of a feminist approach or women's issues, or even confessional of my own life.  Perhaps my style just seeped into these pieces, or my personal reading choices played a hand as well.  Whatever the inspiration, I am quite satisfied with the results.  Most of my poetry is long and descriptive, these pieces are much shorter, but I think the small amount of words make a big impression.

I loved this exercise, I especially like how I ended up using words, phrases, topics, and visuals that I probably wouldn't have normally thought of on my own.   I plan to use this prompt in the future, especially when writers block rears it's ugly head.    Of course, it helps that I'm a voracious reader.  I own over 1500 books, so the possibilities of my 'sorted book' poetry are limitless! 


  1. I have been contemplating this one myself but I am already late, I might do it anyway though. I love Amy Tan! These poems are fabulous!

  2. you should definitely go ahead and do it! it's so much fun! :)


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