“The Power of Books”

In 2003, artist Mladen Penev worked on a project called “The Power of Books.” The books featured in his project do not have titles or even words at all. In fact they are completely blank, but their stories are nonetheless electric. In “The Power of Books” we are seeing the words instead of reading them. They literally explode off the page just as they would in someone’s mind.



Paired with Penev’s work is Allison Peters’s poem “Shelved,” as first published in LitCouture.

Shelved” by Allison Peters


In a row like that, they look like a painting,

the books, an abstract about liveliness,

delicacy (colors, textures).

In all my time
—trying so hard to be both those things—
to find I am not (except for those

few undocumented moments of

human wholeness,

which, because no one can assert them,

of course are made of magic).

Lying alone below the sky, sometimes

you feel inspiringly small. Like

there are forces above you, about you,

and there are. The books all in a row, and I am

watching, mouth open, as if to speak.

Allison Leigh Peters won an Academy of American Poets Prize in 2010. Her work has appeared in the Michigan Quarterly Review, Burner Magazine, Up the Staircase, Connotation Press, WomenArts Quarterly, Oberon Poetry Magazine, Third Wednesday, Avatar Review, and elsewhere.  

This post was written by Katelyn Rogers.


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