the Anthology

One of many, many things I obsess over is how to organize the Anthology. And, for that matter, what to call it.

For the organization I’ve been thinking that when it gets up to 300 or so authors, as it probably will, it will be difficult to arrange the poems artistically, as an editor should. It would be tough to remember 300 poems in enough detail to arrange them to read fluidly. But that is my ideal. Assuming that I get tired of trying to do that and have to do something simpler, I’ve considered organizing by state, birthdate, or name. But those are all typical ways of ordering an anthology, and maybe there is a better way. Ideas?

For instance, maybe I could ask people which of 5 major events marked their development the most, say, The Fall of the Berlin wall, or 9/11, or Columbine, or something, and organize the book into subsections by trauma. Or into subsections by geographical region. If I can get the subsections down so that they describe 50 people instead of all 300 at once then it would be easier to arrange the poems in each section so that they read well together.

(There will be plenty of visual work as well as a few critical essays to break up the monotony of 300 pages of poetry, though perhaps I am the only one who is bored by the prospect of reading 300 pages of poetry.)

For the title I am planning to call the Anthology whatever it has become called by “pop culture” by the time it’s ready for print. Right now it seems that it is most often referred to as the 2008 Anthology of Younger Poets. Is that the title?

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10 Responses to the Anthology

  1. Tao Lin says:

    order it by best to worst poem

  2. Tao Lin says:

    i think order it by last name, so people can easily look at the table of contents and find their own poem and read it, then read everyone else’s bio, that’s what most people are going to do

  3. Jessica Smith says:

    augh. yes. i know. but i want it to be readable– i want it to be a book that, though thick, someone could actually sit down and enjoy. maybe i will do away with all indications of where a poem is, like TOC and index, so that you have to read at least part of the book to find your poem, or at least crack the spine when flipping through it.

    send me scans of pictures i can use, you.

  4. Sandra says:

    I don’t know about order, but I do think that with the title–if you don’t have a strong aesthetic impulse–you ought to build in the name of your press. Not to be crass, but if you’re going to work this hard you’ve earned the brand recognition. I’ve often seen it referrred to as the Outside Voices Anthology 2008.

    When did you switch to such a vixenlike photo?

  5. Jessica Smith says:

    Sandra, you’re absolutely right, I should (and off-topic, I’m working on an email to you). Good to remind me.

    I switched photos maybe 2 days ago. I got a new dress and I was excited about it. I’m still excited about it, it’s a cool dress. (banana republic)

  6. Logan Ryan Smith says:

    i tao’s first idea best.

  7. John Sakkis says:

    we were calling it “younger” during solicitations though there’s no reason that should be set in stone. though i like ‘younger.’

  8. Jessica Smith says:

    logan: that is too hard. though i could insert the mediocre poetry on a different colored paper, like pink, so you could just read all the good poetry and know when to stop.

    john: i like younger too although i wonder about a word like “emerging” since there is the publishing <2 books rule and many “major” young poets did not submit.

  9. Amish Trivedi says:

    You should do it by month that people submitted, and have every month done differently. If only you had 365/366 poets/poems!

    I’m working on name ideas…I’ll get back to you…

    Also, Tao wants best to worst because he knows he’ll be at the front…bastard

  10. Jessica Smith says:

    amish, that’s a good idea (monthly) although i wonder because some months had like a dozen authors, and some had like 3 dozen. do you think that uneven distribution will be disruptive to the reader?

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