More Advice for Ordering Manuscripts--for Ron & Soham

Remember, art, in some ways, is about bringing order to chaos and then elevating the spectacle to the public's eye.

A poetry collection's no different. And I think you SHOULD bring some intention to your creative process. Once you have a stable of poems, try to think about how they "fit." If they don't fit, think about what you need to write in order to get them to fit. Never mind if the glue poems aren't as strong as the pieces you are trying to glue together. By showing a reader/audience how they fit together with the assistance of glue poems, you can guide audiences/readers towards the greater understanding of your work that they may not have been able to intuit.

My own personal rules:

Titles can be used as scaffolds. If it helps organize the manuscript in initial stages, force a title to create a structural skeleton. You can always change it back once you've got a shape.

Sections are to separate tonal movements. There's a rhetorical difference between no sections, two sections, three, four, etc.. If you have lots of sections, maybe you really have more than one manuscript.

Use long poems to punctuate a manuscript's essential "thesis" or tonal expression.

Oliver de la Paz