Typesetting Poetry

I’ve been working to put together a book of my poems, just to have something available at readings. I’ve made zines and xeroxed chapbooks before, but this time around I thought to do some more homework on typography, grid systems, page layouts, line lengths and column widths, and so on. It’s a fascinating tradition, bookmaking, that spans hundreds of years of craftsmanship and I hope that some of it will rub off on me.

I’ll use this post to collect some of the interesting things I’ve learned along the way, such as this video. If you happen by here and want to talk about typography for poems, chapbooks or any related subject, feel free to post a comment.

I found an interesting conversation on typophile about typesetting poetry. It contains some good advice: “make sure that individual poems don’t look like they were falling down or out of the page. Don’t make them look ashamed of their existence, place them in a way that will underline their self-sustained aesthetic importance.” I thought the conversation was interesting, also, because it turns out that the designer’s original approach was considered “too experimental” by the poet. Poets are often too conservative about their book designs, but literary design doesn’t have to be boring design.

I’d like to browse through other threads about poetry on typophile. It seems to be a good place for knowledgable conversation.

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