Categories
Poetry

Foreword by Alexandra Meehan

When I asked Alexandra Meehan, my editor, to do a foreword for Love & Metaxa, I wanted my readers to understand the connection a poet has with the editor. It’s not just a cut-and-dry edit, this poetry editing process for Love & Metaxa has taken us years of going back and forth, it’s a creative process that brought out my creativity, my desires, my words, and my own self-reflection. What did I actually mean when I wrote this poem?

Alexandra is a master editor, her brain is like a computer when it comes to grammar, punctuation, poetic devices. She sees through words the way I never could.

Some of my poems went on for pages and she literally split them down the middle and said, “This is actually two poems. Now fix it.” I would stare at these two poems that were once one poem and try to see what she saw, then I would rewrite, reword, restructure, and she was absolutely correct! I couldn’t see that they were two poems. Without Alexandra, the poems in the book would be very different.

    For all emerging poets thinking it will take you a few months to put your poems in a word document and then publish, I am here to tell you, you are mistaken.  My poems have never been more polished than they are in this book, and this is all due to the editing. 

     In Love & Metaxa, Alexandra Meehan and I edited up until the last day before I uploaded the manuscript. It was an intense last couple of months, not knowing how long the process would take us, and having a deadline for pre-order. 

    I want to include the foreword here for the people who have the original version of the book. If you receive my book with a foreword then rest assured you have the edited, correct version. We had zero control of its distribution as a result of Magnolia Press. To learn more about how this uncontrollable fiasco nearly gave me an aneurysm, click here: https://christinastrigas.com/tag/publishing-love-and-metaxa/

I want to include the foreword because I am so proud of the editing that Alexandra Meehan has provided me in this book. 

It was as if she entered my mind. She nicknamed me “Speedy” because when I was on a writing roll, I could not stop. My pet peeve is the editing process!

I admit it’s all about the poetic ego. I have learned to abandon the ego and go with the best word for the poem. To achieve a perfect poem you sometimes edit more or less. The only poem in the book that was not edited and was published as I wrote it the first time here on my blog is “Making My Lists Before Dawn.”

My next blog post I will tell you all about the creative process of writing that poem.

Here is the Foreword by Alexandra Meehan from my poetry book Love & Metaxa.

If you want to reach Alexandra Meehan you can email her at alexandrameehan@yahoo.com :https://www.alexandrameehan.com/

Her Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/lexmeehan?lang=en

Alexandra Meehan is a writer and poetry editor residing in Gainesville, Florida. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She has worked as a creative consultant, professional writer, and as a creative writing tutor. Her poetry has been featured by the Feminine Collective and Rhythm & Bones, among others. In her spare time, Alexandra cultivates Venus flytraps, paints, and cares for her rescue cats.

Categories
Poetry

5 tips for Editing Poetry Books

I have recently edited a few poetry books for fellow poets. I find that most poets, find it hard to edit their own poems and a second opinion is sometimes necessary to get out of their own head. I must admit that I never hired a poetry editor for my three poetry books, but I had a particular vision and look that I knew I wanted for my poems.

If you are looking for a poetry editor or you are editing your poems yourself here are 5 tips that worked for me and how I go about editing poetry books.

  1. After every draft, you should put your manuscript away for over two weeks and clear your mind. As many times as you go through your manuscript, is as many times you must put it aside. This ensures that you start fresh every time and believe me, every time you read it, you will find something that you need to correct or revise. Do this up until there is nothing left to rewrite. Do not settle until you feel your book is done. Eventually, you will know.
  2. You can divide your poetry book into sections or parts with titles so that it flows for the reader. Also, a table of contents with the list of poems at the beginning of the book is always helpful to quickly find a poem. Lately, some poets are not using any titles or table of contents…if you choose to do so, make sure that you divide your book into sections such as loss, healing, love, death, etc. so that there is some kind of order. There are not many rules in poetry and anything may go for certain poets, but in my experience, the books that have no titles or breaks are hard to read and difficult to distinguish one poem from the next.
  3. Every poetry book needs a Copyright page, a Dedication page, Acknowledgements page, at the beginning of the book and an About the Author Page at the end of the book. Number your pages. Look at the poetry books in your library and see how the professionals do it.
  4. Format, font and presentation are an integral part of a poetry book. Pay an expert to create your file in pdf with the appropriate poetic fonts and alignments. Equally, cover art and a blurb brings the book together as a whole.
  5. Make sure the poetry editor you hire has experience, knowledge and a grasp of poetic terms.

Good luck in the editing process, this is the hardest part of writing. As Ernest Hemingway wrote, ” The first draft of everything is shit.”