Book Spine Poetry

At Palmer College of Chiropractic, book spine poetry takes on added meaning. The example pictured here to celebrate National Poetry Month features just a few of the thousands of volumes housed in Special Collections and Archives. For those new to the genre, book spine poetry is, according to the American Library Association (ALA), “a poem composed using the spines of books stacked on one another to create a free verse poem.” Thus, through adept spinal adjustment, we have:

How To Get Well

Old Dad Chiro
B.J. of Davenport
Three Generations
The Palmer Technique of Chiropractic
Chiropractic History

The ALA is currently sponsoring a book spine poetry contest, and voting for favorite poems will remain open through April 26; all submissions can be viewed here.

Palmer Library contains a variety of poetic works, and Special Collections and Archives has several volumes that relate to chiropractic, such as Twentieth Century Zephyrs; or Reminiscences of Chiropractic (1916), Paths around Palmer (1958), and Chiropractic in Four Seasons (1998). In addition, we have the volume, P.S.C. and Other Poems, by William H. Rauchfuss, D.C. Valedictorian of his class, Rauchfuss hailed from Paterson, New Jersey, and graduated from Palmer in 1920. Modestly produced with typewritten carbon-copies, the book contains such gems as “Frat Yells” and “Sorority Yells,” which conclude with the following stanzas, respectively:

Ye-ow! Ye-ow! me-oh-my!
Delta Sigma Chi! Yi-yi!
Chiro! chiro! absolute-lee!
We yell like hell for the P.S.C.!

Yip, yap! Mabel! B.J.!
Yip-de-addity, boom-de-aye!
Sublux! Palpate! this is our cry—
We are the gals of the Delta Phi Chi!

With spring finally arriving in Iowa, may everyone enjoy such exuberance and perhaps add their own versifying—chiropractic or otherwise—to the literary canon.

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