Example poetry

Read some of Annette Dauphin Simon’s poetry on the spine of the book ‹ Literary Center

love and romance

What if…
When you reach me
What if…? Then, we…
If so
I like it when…
What if?
You me we !
It’s my loving brain

· “She felt the essence of herself becoming finer and smaller like those streams of spun glass that pull and stretch until there was only a shimmering illusion left. Neither falling nor breaking, the flow turns thinner. She felt tiny and ecstatic. Alabama was in love. –Zelda Fitzgerald, Save me the waltz1932

· by Rebecca Stead When you reach me won the 2010 Newbery Medal for Most Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature. The book was inspired by and had links to a book that won the Newbery Medal in 1963, Madeline L’Engle’s A shortcut in time.

· On her website and in her TED talks, Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, senior fellow at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, and 2005 author Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, says humans are wired for love. Fisher and his colleagues’ brain scans show that increased levels of dopamine and oxytocin create feelings of attraction and attachment, while higher levels of testosterone and estrogen tend to turn off part of the brain that controls rational behavior. During this time, serotonin levels drop, comparable to levels seen in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. You feel like, says Fisher, “someone is camping in your head.”

Titles by: Samantha Berger and Mike Curato / Rebecca Stead / Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Fred Koehler / Kate Hope Day / Mary Murphy / Randall Munroe / Erin Jang / IW Gregorio


love and romance

A twisted type of perfect
A good kind of problem
A beautifully stupid company
me with you
The Splendid and the Vile
What’s not to love

· “I may be heaven sent, but I’m not perfect.” –Cynthia Leitch Smith, Eternal2009

· “It will never be perfect, but perfect is overrated. Perfection is boring. -Tina Fey bossypants2011

· Before toymaker Kohner released the Trouble board game in 1965, they called it Frustration. Trouble is based on an early 20th century German game similar to Parcheesi with a name that loosely translates to “Don’t Argue”. During World War II, brothers Paul and Frank Kohner fled Czechoslovakia to America to escape the Nazis – first Paul, in 1940, then Frank, in 1942. They formed Kohner Bros. in New York, making handbags out of wooden beads before moving on to toys. . After World War II, when plastic became available and cheap, Paul Kohner commissioned engineer Albert Stubbmann to convert the toy factory from wood to plastic production. Stubbmann’s name appears on more than twenty patents for at least fifty products, including the Pop-O-Matic dice device at the center of the Trouble chart. Fred Kroll’s August 6, 2003 obituary credits him with creating Trouble, as well as the 1970s game Hungry Hungry Hippos. Trouble was eventually acquired by Milton Bradley, which was acquired by Hasbro in 1984.

· The Erik Larson Story The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance during the Blitz uses newspapers and public records to follow British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his advisers through his first year of leadership, during the Nazi bombing campaign of World War II from May 1940 to May 1941.

Titles by: Linda Urban / Lisa Moore Ramée / Hank Green / Kristy Dempsey and Christopher Denise / Erik Larson / Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka



The whisper
the egg
The watermelon seed
The art of the mundane
little beautiful things

· “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ARE CARE OF.” –Amy Krouse Rosenthal, @missamykr, March 15, 2013

· “Like, for example: a group of children trudging along in a side-blown December gust; a friendly sharing under a collision-tilted streetlamp; a frozen clock, visited by birds in its high tower; cold water from a pewter jug; wiping off his sticky shirt after the June rain. Beads, rags, buttons, carpet tufts, beer foam. Someone’s good wishes for you; someone remembering to write; someone notices that you are not at all comfortable. –Georges Saunders, Lincoln at Bardo2017

· “She was like that, excited and thrilled by little things, keeping her fingers crossed for any remotely unpredictable event, like tasting a new flavor of ice cream, or dropping a letter in a mailbox.” –Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of diseases1999

· Cheryl Strayed wrote the essays in little beautiful things as an unpaid advice columnist for the online literary magazine Ruckus, under the pseudonym “Sugar”. When she stopped writing the column in 2012, she revealed her identity as the best-selling memoir author. Wild: From Loss to Discovery on the Pacific Crest Trail. While hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Strayed brought “an old friend,” Adrienne Rich’s The dream of a common language.

Titles by: Pamela Zagarenski / Geraldo Valério / Greg Pizzoli / Wendell Berry / Cheryl Strayed


Biography and memory

A story of my brief body
Acid Fatty Salt Heat
brain on fire
A shortcut in time
dinosaur bones
Leave out the tragic parts

· “I finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality delivery system, designed expressly to transport my character from place to place, now and in the years to come.” –Anna Quindlen, Lots of candles, lots of cake2012

· At Madeleine L’Engle’s A shortcut in time was rejected by twenty-six publishers who had claimed it was too difficult and detailed for children before Farrar, Straus and Giroux published it in 1962. In 1963 the book won the Newbery Medal for Distinguished Literature for children.

· A shortcut in time begins “It was a dark and stormy night”, like all novels typed by Snoopy’s character in Charles Schulz Peanuts Comic. Both L’Engle and Schulz chose the opening phrase of the 1830 novel Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton because the phrase illustrated poor handwriting.

· The line is commemorated annually in the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest for the worst opening sentence of a non-existent novel. According to the pageant’s website, founder Dr. Scott Rice later learned that “the line had been around for donkey years before Lytton decided to play around with it, but the damage had been done…and returned. [Bulwer-Lytton’s] name synonymous with bad writing, author more widely read in his time than Charles Dickens.

· Charles Dickens was Bulwer-Lytton’s publisher and friend. He named one of his sons, Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens, after him.

· Bulwer-Lytton is also credited with the phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword”, a line uttered by Cardinal Richelieu in Bulwer-Lytton’s 1839 play. Richelieu: or the conspiracy, play in five acts. The Cleric discovers that there are plans to assassinate him, but is unable to respond with violent measures due to his calling.

Titles by: Billy-Ray Belcourt / Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton / Susannah Cahalan / Madeleine L’Engle / Bob Barner / Destiny O. Birdsong / Dave Kindred


Politics, history and current events

world news
Small fires everywhere
Smoke and Ashes
Smoke and mirrors
big little lies
Wow, no thanks.
We are better than that

· “But we have to tell our stories and not be trapped by them.” –Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Water Dancer2019

· “People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.” –James W. Loewen, Lies my teacher told me: all you The American history textbook got it wrong1995

· “Lies, my dear boy, are discovered immediately, because they are of two kinds. There are lies that have short legs and lies that have long noses. It turns out that your lie is one of those with a long nose. –Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio1883

· “Of course we have this saying, ‘He lies like an eyewitness’.” – Dmitri Shostakovich, Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich, related to and edited by Solomon Volkov1979. Julian Barnes chose this quote from Russian composer Shostakovich for the epigraph to his 1991 novel about three Londoners, Talk about. A wife, her husband and the husband’s old friend tell the same story from three different angles: their own.

· “Liar Liar! Pants on fire! So far, the origin stories of the playground phrase – including one that comes from a poem called ‘The Liar’, attributed to William Blake – have been proven wrong. , and the originator of the phrase is still unknown. Linguist Barry Popik says the phrase was in use long before the 1920s. A June 2010 entry in the Etymology Blog, The Big Applenotes a version of February 13, 1922, Chicago Daily Tribune“under the heading ‘Do you remember when’: We children shouted: you are lying! Liar! Your pants are on fire. Your tongue is as long as a telegraph wire.‘”

Titles by: Paulette Jiles / Celeste Ng / Abir Mukherjee / Neil Gaiman / Liane Moriarty / Samantha Irby / Francesco Marconi / Elijah Cummings with James Dale


Extract of Spine Poems: An Eclectic Collection of Found Verses by Annette Dauphin-Simon. Copyright © 2022. Available from Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Annette Dauphin-Simon

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