Kristen Renee Miller of Sarabande Books Recommends...

I’m going to be super granular here: Poets, when you are composing or formatting your work on a word processor with book publication in mind, please set your margins to approximately two inches on all sides and make sure your poems look the way you want within those margins. 

We receive so much beautiful poetry, meticulously arranged to look a certain way on a standard page of 8 1/2 x 11 inches, which does not easily translate to the requirements of print publishing. There are only so many ways to accommodate these works, most of them unacceptable either from an aesthetic standpoint—nobody wants their typeface shrunk to 8 points; nobody wants a floppy, composition-notebook-sized collection of poems—or from a budgeting standpoint: Fold-out pages are wildly expensive. It’s genuinely exciting, in terms of innovation and the evolution of the verse form, that poets have technological tools that increase their sense of their work’s expansiveness. It’s exciting that online literary magazines can accommodate nearly limitless possibilities in terms of a poem’s shape and formal dynamics. And it’s exciting to field work from writers who have grown up with these tools and platforms, whose sense of capital-P poetry has developed with this sense of limitlessness all along. But poets, with love, if you’re imagining your work living in a printed book, you must consider how to make your vision take shape on a more pocket-sized surface area.   

Kristen Renee Miller, executive director and editor in chief, Sarabande Books

Photo credit: Kertis Creative