Story Cubes and Art Works

In 2008 Alec Finlay made a series of two Story Cubes. Alec is an artist, poet and publisher currently working in Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The Story Cubes he made were titled ‘After Ludwig Wittgenstein‘ and ‘score/fold‘ and could be made up into two cube poems. Each side of the two cubes features a single word and poems are created by the juxtaposition of the cubes, revealing and hiding words.

These poems can be viewed – or made – in the context of Alec’s other poetic forms; the mesostic name poem; circle poems and the related windmill turbine text designs and wordrawings; and the grid poem and sliding puzzle poem objects derived from these.

A windmill turbine poem by Alec Finlay from his artists residency at Kielder

A few months after finishing the Story Cube poems Alec recreated two wooden box versions of the cubes to be exhibited as part of Thoughts Within Thoughts at Arc Projects Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria.

The transformation of the work from paper to wood makes me wonder when is a Story Cube not a Story Cube? Alec’s wooden cubes give the impression of greater importance and permanance than the paper cubes – yet they are essentially the same content. Is it the paper material, the ability to make, undo, and remake the cube, the potential for sharing the cubes as digital files or the cube form that give Story Cubes their character? Or some combination of these that might vary from project to project? These two sets of Story Cube poems seem to me to be an illustration of the questions I was exploring in earlier posts about how the choice of materials for eBooks and Story Cubes affect the reader’s perception of the finished object.

Download the cube poems on

Read more about Alec’s work on