Monday, December 6, 2010

Organizing a book of poems

I'd been circling around the problem of organizing a manuscript for several years. My poems are all over the map, both thematically and formally. I tried several ways of grouping them by themes – political, humorous, nature/mystical, experimental, but nothing would work.

One day I realized that I had published 72 poems in sundry magazines, and it came to me to arrange those poems alphabetically by title and see what happened. What came out was a nice random mix. Subsequently I took out some poems that I didn't like all that much, and added some favorites that I've had trouble getting published – figuring that I might as well stop submitting them and just put them out there.

I decided on "Unglobed fruit" as a title poem, and that it should come last. I switched it around with "Unjubilee" and cut out everything in the alphabet after U. In the August issue of The Centrifugal Eye I found a lovely stitchery by Patricia Wallace Jones that seemed to echo several themes in the title poem. Pat was delighted for me to use it as a cover image.

At my advanced age I can't go gallivanting about the country giving readings, as any publisher would want, so I'll be self-publishing the book with Lulu. Editors of four of the zines I've published in have kindly written blurbs – which, much to my surprise, all fit on the back cover. At this writing I'm waiting for the formatted text. More later.


Oddbjørn J. said...

I look forward to "Unglobed fruit" being published!

Murerarbejde said...

Being able to organize this thing, gives us the option to have some positive benefit from it.

toniclark said...

I didn't even notice that the poems were in alphabetical order! It worked. I think the ordering was excellent. (I have wrestled with this too, and have come up with no solution. Maybe I'll use yours.)