Monday, May 22, 2017

Compiling a Book of Poems: Post #1

Almost since I started writing poems in 2010, I've wanted to put together a collection or book of my poems.  Of course, you have to have enough poems written to fill a book first.  It's taken me years, but I've got almost enough really good poems to create at least a collection.

Being a methodical person who doesn't enter into things like this lightly, I've begun to research the best way to put together a book of poems for publication, whether just for me or for sale.  Thus far, I've found some very good sources.  The links are at the bottom of this post.

One important question I think a poet must ask is whether you want to publish strictly for yourself or to sell to the public.  I believe this is important, because if you are merely putting a collection together for your own enjoyment, the guidelines are more lax.  You don't have to adhere to the conventions of publishing.

With that said, I've decided that my first endeavor will be strictly for myself because I would like to have more of my individual poems published before I try to make sales.  Furthermore, I will say that, even though I'm currently undertaking this task for my own enjoyment, I do not like reinventing the wheel.  I will, therefore, be attempting to put my collection/book together using the conventions that are expected for a published work.

Let's start at the beginning.  
Reviewing your poems is the first step.  All the sources I've read, see links below, have various strategies outlined for reviewing your work to determine what will go into your book.  Of all the varied suggestions, printing out all your poems is a good first step.  While many of us have our poems saved in an electronic document, there's nothing like pen and paper for editing, sorting and labeling.

So, I've printed all the poems I feel are ready to go into a book, or that I want to go into a book.  I have just over 70.

This part is both hard and fun at the same time for me.  It's hard for me when the poem I need to edit is good as is, but I know it can be better.  In cases like this I will always preserve the original before editing a copy.  Sometimes, I end up with two poems when this happens.

Editing is fun for me because I like to look at something and try to make it better.  I recently took two of my formless poems and made them into palindromes or mirror poems.  These are poems that read the same forward and back.  When you read a mirror poem you get to the half-way point and the poem reads backwards to the first line.

Here's one that I just created by editing one of my poems:
Raindrop Patterns
October 12, 2010
By Kimberly L. McClune

Raindrop patterns
Random patterns
On the window
Pooling in the corners
Gathering on the sill
Small rivers creeping down my window
Gathering on the sill
Pooling in the corners
On the window
Random patterns
Raindrop patterns

To be honest, I'm still in the editing stage with my poems.  There are about 10 that I feel need to be gone over before I feel they're strong enough for publication or inclusion in a book or collection.  I may even try publishing a few of them individually before I finish this project.  

While I finish editing, you can take a look at the links below to read about putting together your own poetry book or collection.  These are the articles or sites I found to be the most helpful.

Next week I'll post on the next step, Sorting and Organizing Your Poems.  I'll also share another edited poem.

Enjoy the Spring for Summer is mere weeks away.

Leave me a comment so I know you were here.

Poets & Writers
Long but thoughtful post. 


Writer’s Digest

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