Do you have any advice for writing a full length poetry collection?
hello! this is a great qs, thank u for asking - i will try do my best, but if there are more specific questions you have (do you mean about starting the collection/picking the poems/ordering them etc), please do feel free to send them in!
- try pick/write poems that revolve around a certain theme. & by that i don’t mean that all poems have to be about one thing only & nothing else, but rather that the overall collection should flow well together (without sounding super repetitive, which i have trouble with tbh), with a few central themes/images pulling it together - e.g. loss, love, healing, etc. crush by richard siken, as louise glück says in the introduction, is “a book about panic.” his war of the foxes revolves largely around creation & morality (for a start).
- be prepared for it to take a while - with writing & editing & re-editing, it needs patience! speaking of time, give your poems some room to breathe. can’t count the number of times i’ve written a few poems that i thought were brilliant & good enough to go into a manuscript, & then when i look back on them after a month (or even a few weeks) i’ve felt, honestly, quite appalled at myself. & that’s okay! poems can always be tweaked & edited & changed, but make sure you’re taking some time away from them so you can approach them with a fresh, unbiased mind.
- kinda tying on to the last point: make sure you are happy & proud of every poem that’s going into your manuscript!!! every single one of them!! this is so important!! don’t ‘hide’ weaker poems between ones that you love - if you don’t like a poem, keep it out of the manuscript.
- in terms of ordering poems, i find it super useful to print off all the poems & then basically – lay them on the floor & switch them around & move things until you start forming something that you’re happy with.
- i’m not really sure what else to say other than just do it. sit down & write & write - the more the better so you can pick & choose your favourites!! write & edit, send the manuscript to people/writers you trust so you can get some positive feedback & constructive criticism on it. make sure you’re happy with what you are putting together!! it’s gonna be Out There once you put it out, so you want it to be something you’re proud of.
- all the very best of luck, & as i said before, please do send more specific questions if you have any! i don’t know just how useful i’ll be, but i will do my best xx
- edit: check out this link that the very kind @alexanderandbrook sent my way!!