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Putting a Poetry Collection Together

Getting Your Poet’s House in Order

You’ve built up a lot of poems, on a range of themes and subjects; maybe over a long period of time. You may also have taken a break from writing poetry and come back to it again. You’ve now got a selection of poetry some of which may be handwritten, some printed out and some sitting in random desktop files.  What do you do with them?  We’ve taken a look at lots of different advice from a range of people and come up with a few tips. Some of this might sound obvious or basic, in which case you might like to use it as a sort of poetry collection checklist, or it may give you the impetus to get all your treasured work catalogued.

Tips for Putting Your Poetry Collection Together

  • You may have enough for one collection or maybe more.  Find out what you have.  If you have copies of poems, make sure to get them onto your laptop.  If you still have some handwritten poems, type them up on your laptop.  Put them all in the same place and make sure you back them up either by saving them to a cloud account or by simply e-mailing them to yourself.  You don’t want to lose them.
  • What next? Print out all the poems and re-read them.  Seeing them on paper can be a useful tool.  It will also help you sort them out.  Start putting poems which you think sit well together, in piles.  They can focus on themes or the time you wrote them etc. Some might fit in and others may be ones that you keep aside for another collection.
  • Decide on how you want this collection to come across; do you have even more material for a second book?  If you have a large collection of poems, you may want to think about different themes for each book.
  • In general it’s recommended that you have a minimum of around 60 pages (inc.contents etc.) to have a selection of poems look like a collection.  Though you may decide to print fewer poems, it really is a good idea to wait until you have enough to create a book.  It is tempting to want to get your book out there, but you really are better served by creating a more substantial book with more of your work on show.
  • Think about which order to put the poems in.  Perhaps chose your strongest as the first poem which can set the tone or mood of the book.
  • Proofread or get someone to proofread for you. Even though poetry may be non conformist and may have composite words, it is worthwhile to have someone else read it.  If they spot some errors, it’ll be worth it.
  • Think about the title of the collection.  It can draw people in and set the theme for the book.
  • And most of all; when you have your collection completed and you are satisfied, take a break and then get back to writing some more.

Selfpublishbooks.ie have a self-publishing poetry package, specifically designed for people putting a collection of poems togther. Contact us for more details.

 

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