2-foot thick book of poetry: a world record? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

2-foot thick book of poetry: a world record?


IOWA CITY (KWWL) - It's a monolith of literature. A pillar of poetry. Bill Voss, preservation assistant at the University of Iowa Libraries, said it's the largest book he's ever attempted to bind, and by a long shot.

"Probably only about 500 pages before," said Voss.

He showed us that you don't flip through it, so much as put it through a controlled slinky-like topple.

"If you want to open to a particular place, you're going to have to support one cover or the other," Voss explained.

The book, titled "Poetry City Marathon," is a 10,000 page, 100-volume collection of poetry that measures two feet thick and weighs just a bit more than your average page-turner.

"I think it's about 56 pounds," Voss estimates.

Iowa city poet Dave Morice wrote it last year, during a 100-day poetry marathon.

"I started on the 4th of July, and then ended on Halloween," Morice told us.

When it was completed, Voss started piecing it together using a custom-built press.

"You have to fan the text back and forth while it's in a press, and then apply adhesive to the spine," Voss said. He had to do that in 500-page chunks over a three or four day span.

"Up until the very end of making it, he didn't know whether it was going to hold up," said Morice.

But Voss says it's holding up fine. It just needs a slap on the spine here and there to keep it standing nice and straight.

Morice is working on 26 individual afterwords for this book, at about 7,000 words a piece. Once he's done with that, it should be about twice the length of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace."

"That will total over a million words," said Morice.

To state the obvious, it won't be available for checkout. Voss said it will probably have a special box, and will be kept in the library's special collections. Morice and library staff hope to submit the book to Guinness Book of World Records, as the world's thickest book.

If you'd like to read the full text of "Poetry City Marathon," go to http://iowacitypoetrymarathon.com/index.html.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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