cloudy trans

Poems in corrupt press books are laid out in a particular way.

Firstly, where possible, I start the poem at the same absolute vertical position on each page (I prefer 30mm). When I’m leafing through a book, I react badly to the poetry starting in different places on the page: the poems jump about. It just looks amateur to my eyes. This effect is only seen with books — one just can’t leaf through a PDF.

Secondly, I prefer to centre, so much as possible, the entire poem on the page, e.g. the stanzas are lined up on a common left margin (subject to the layout of the poem), but the whole poem is centred. This can get awkward when the title is wider than the poem; then I try & adapt to the circumstances, while keeping a consistency throughout the book. Also, the positioning may have to be adapted when a poem has many short lines with one rather long line; then the centring might look a little odd, & it might be better to move things a little off–centre. It’s a matter of judgement.

Finally, when breaking a longer poem at the bottom of a page, I try to ensure that stanzas are not broken up. Some poetry has single line stanzas. With them, I have to judge whether I think that single line near a page break belongs with the stanza above or that below. This is a poetic and a visual judgement, to be honest. This in particular is why I ask the poet to check the page breaks.