Poetry Friday: A spinal spine poem

Before we get to today’s post, I just wanted to remind you of my post from this past Tuesday, which explains how Facebook thinks it knows what you like – politically AND socially – and why that is so detrimental. The most important thing you can do to understand your characters, your scripts. and your neighbors is getting harder and harder to do…so I hope you’ll check it out!

poetryfridaybutton-fulllNow, then…today’s poem is a spine poem, but it’s not “just” a spine poem – it’s a spinal spine poem!

If you’re wondering what a spine poem is, it’s a poem that is created by organizing a group of book spines into a stack, with each title its own “line,” thereby creating a poem. This is a form of found poetry, which involves using lines culled from books, magazines, or wherever words can be found, to create new works.

This particular poem came about when my chiropractor, who is also a commercial client of mine, asked me if I would write a poem about chiropractic for her practice. She believes in whole-body wellness, and that our bodies can function more completely when our spinal cord is free of impingement, or subluxations. A healthy spine means more than just less back pain; it means better overall health.

I spent a couple of months thinking about what angle to take, how I should write it, what form I should use, if any…and it suddenly occurred to me that a poem about spines needs to be a “spine poem.”

So I set about searching through every book she had in her office, in the patient library, and even packed away in the attic! I wanted every book utilized to have come from her, so once I had sorted through all of them and made the necessary notes, I organized the titles and came up with the poem; all I needed to do then was pull the books from the shelves, put them in order, and photograph them.

(and many thanks to my daughter, Katherine, for her photography work!)

Here, then, is Crossroads Chiropractic’s spine poem:

(click to enlarge)

This project is unique in that I’ve never done a work-for-hire for a non-poetry business; I’ve been hired to write poetry for poetry anthologies, but never for something outside of the publishing industry. I’m glad I accepted the challenge!

And for all of today’s Poetry Friday links, be sure to visit Tricia Stohr-Hunt’s blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect!


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22 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A spinal spine poem

  1. You rose to the challenge, Matt. I love this work that you did. It included research, creativity, and persistence. The end-result is something your chiropractor must be thrilled with. This little endeavor makes me think that we should write spine poems for Halloween and place them in my gallery. What do you say about that? Spine-thrilling poems could be an interesting prospect!

    *Carol *

    *Carol Varsalona* *E*LA *C*onsultant Moderator of *#NYEDChat* *Wonder Lead Ambassador * 1430 Surrey Lane, Rockville Centre, NY 11570 (516) 317-8306 (C) Blog: beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com Twitter: @cvarsalona

    * Wonderopolis *

    On Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 9:36 PM, Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme wrote:

    > Matt Forrest Esenwine posted: “Before we get to today’s post, I just > wanted to remind you of my post from this past Tuesday, which explains how > Facebook thinks it knows what you like – politically AND socially – and why > that is so detrimental. The most important thing you can do to und” >


  2. Perfect idea — spine poem for chiropractics!! I needed a mental adjustment today. Thank you. 🙂

    P.S. Did you know Calvin Trillin wrote a poem about your eating habits?


  3. dmayr

    I found chiropractic adjustments to be almost a life-saver. I had TMJ problems that became so bad that for a while I was eating yogurt and cream-of-wheat because it hurt too much to chew. A chiropractor fixed me up (adjustment made an immediate difference) and I’ve been a believer ever since!


    1. I started visiting this particular chiropractor because she was a client of the radio station group I was working for, and I produced all her commercials. Once I began getting adjusted, I saw a rapid improvement in my health, so she kept me on as a producer/advisor after I left the stations.


    1. Thanks, Buffy! I struggled for months to come up with the right direction to take – whether it would be a traditional form or free verse, what I was going to say – and then suddenly it occurred to me, “DUH – a SPINE poem!”


  4. Fantastic! I do love a poem with a good back bone…..lol. I’m inspired. I need to create a book spine poem. I’ve never done that and I work in a library! Consider the challenge taken with inspiration from your outstanding work. Have a great week, Matt.


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