Arrangement: Price varies based on number/length of poems. Please contact me with a sample for a quote.
Stylistic edit: $0.009 / word
Copyedit: $0.008 / word
Working with poets is near and dear to my heart. I’ve been writing poetry my whole life, and it is the kind of writing that most deeply resonates with me.
One thing I know: Poetry is perfect for this precise moment in time. Poetry transports the reader, creates a world, embeds a feeling, does all this in a moment and, while we are all busy people, we all have a moment. A moment to heal, to reflect and to wonder, and to appreciate the beauty of language.
Another thing I know for sure: literary agents won’t take on poets as clients, and this is because there is little money to be made in poetry. Poets must represent themselves and present their work (without an agent’s expertise) to publishing houses that still publish poetry.
For these reasons, and in recognizing our disadvantage, poets deserve extra support, and so I give poets my lowest price.
When it comes to editing, poetry is a special case.
A collection of poetry can be copyedited and proofread in the same manner as any other kind of writing, but there are special concerns and a unique process to substantively editing poetry.
Every word in a poem is integral to the poet’s art. Therefore, no word should be changed by the editor; It must be done by the poet. I can highlight a line/word for your rewriting, and I can give commentary on it: Were you thinking of this other word? This line is illogical, is this what you intended? This is what this line means to me . . . Is that what you want it to mean?
I comment on: imagery, flow, narrative (for poems tell stories, just in a different way), emotion, rhythm, and mystery (I think poetry is equally about what is unsaid, what is implied through omission).
Structural editing of a poetry collection is two-fold:
Identifying poems that need work, that fall flat, that have potential but need attention, and that the poet should consider removing from their collection so that every poem in their book shines. Poetry is such a concise art form, there is no room for mediocrity . . . That being said, sometimes a poem is especially meaningful for a poet, and they want it published, and I fully respect that choice.
Arrangement. This is a skill completely unique to poetry, and one I have a lot of experience doing.
—From scratch: A poet sends me their collection without arrangement. I read through the collection, noting theme and connections. Maybe there are a couple or a few that I feel should be together. I find the one that could start the collection. I find the one that could end it. I use an intuitive sense in developing sections, perhaps based on theme/time of writing/process/style. "Process" poetry is similar to telling a story; There is a progression to the poems.
Examples: trauma/healing/enlightenment; birth/life/death; heartbreak/healing/new love.
—Within an existing framework: A poet sends me a collection they have arranged. While respecting their sense of arrangement, I keep myself keenly aware of the ordering. I note poems that are oddly placed within a section that doesn’t suit them, when another section would better suit them. I might realize a new section ought to be created. I might see that a truly amazing poem has been buried somewhere in the middle, and I suggest it is highlighted by being better placed.
I read out loud. This is very important for poetry. I read out loud to see how one poem ends and what the next sounds like to follow it. I see if it feels jarring or if it feels natural.
Sometimes, I create a few possible arrangements, giving the poet these options.