More than Just a Book of Poems

I love reading physical books as opposed to reading them online or on a device, there is something special about picking up a book and turning the pages. One thing that I am always drawn to when browsing for books is the cover. I love seeing the cover art, illustration, and design, it truly is one of the things that captures my attention to books. One of my favorite books was chosen because I found the text and cover to be inspirational and pleasing to the eye. In my British Renaissance Literature class, we will be reading Seventeenth-Century British Poetry from 1603-1660 and I decided to take a deeper look in the book. 


Photo Courtesy of Good

When I first purchased the book of poetry and looked through it, I was drawn to the image on the cover, it depicted a woman cradling a man and another bystander looking on behind a tree. I was intrigued by the meaning of the artwork and tied into the poetry. As I was paging through the book, the paper was uniform, it was lightweight and thin. There is a table of contents that shows how all the poems are organized and where the poems can be located within the book, this feature is always expected in a mass-produced book. The poems found within the book contain the title, when it was written along with the poem and some footnotes at the bottom with extra information. The text on the cover was fairly standard, a Times New Roman font. It makes the book look very uniform with the text as well as the dark brown color scheme on the cover as well. The spine on the book large, given that it is a large book and it is glued together. All these features of this book of poetry, all point to signs that this book is mass produced. There is no uniqueness that sets this book apart from others. The text, form, style, and color scheme look uniform. If I did not have to read this for another class, I’m not sure if I would have picked it up because it doesn’t stand apart from other books in regard to a title or cover. As cliché as it sounds, I think some people do judge a book by its cover, often people skim bookshelves and pick up a book based on the title or cover art. They are not always willing to take the time read a bit of the book before making a decision to but it or not. 

In The Book: “The Book as Object”, Borsuk writes, “Each book was a unique and hard-wrought object to be enjoyed by a limited office” (54). I do believe that every book has an intended audience in mind to reach, however I don’t think people are always willing to search hard to find the book for them. I think they stop at the cover and don’t always look beyond the cover. When it comes to poetry, novels, and short stories, there is so much more to the book that goes beyond the cover. 

                                                            Work Cited

Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book.MIT Publishers 2018

2 thoughts on “More than Just a Book of Poems”

  1. I really found this post interesting because I have often felt this way about books that I have bought for classes. Usually they are just like how you described, average in just about every way, nondescript, and very obviously mass produced. But I usually like these books because not only is there most likely a reason for them being this way (it’s got to be good if they made so many copies right?), but you get to learn something new by analyzing it through class. You might notice different themes or ways of thinking just by being given a nudge in the right direction by a professor that knows the material. That is why that I get sort of excited when I see such a normal-looking text on the reading list for a class, because I’m looking forward to be proven wrong about the content inside.


  2. I agree that the book is not very visually attractive. I am surprised that more textbooks and other forms of academic literature are not given a more visually appealing look – I mean we pay a lot for these books as students. I remember some of the textbooks from grade school still because the books had enticing colors meant to suit the classroom and attract students. Perhaps the content and effectiveness of the content becomes more memorable as we get older, but I still think visuals would aid in popularizing a text.


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