Friday, January 25, 2013

Putting together a poetry book

A great article by Erika Meitner on compiling a poetry book manuscript. She talks about project versus what she calls "mix-tape books"-- a great term for the classical general poetry collection. She discusses the way a "project" related collection can suffer from weak poems forced into being and into the book to support the theme. It's a concern I have, this rampant trend for themed poetry collections. While a themed collection that's strong and can support an entire book is a stunning achievement, I see so many books straining at themes, rather than simply offering the best new work the poet has. I love diversity and the way a poet works her or his ongoing themes forward -- or jumps into new territory. It's part of getting to know the poet as a whole. I feel themed books put me at one remove from that. And so I tend not to buy them.

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