Layout from a bird’s eye view has been one of my fortes in life, from landscaping to interior design to page design. As a maker of chapbooks I have realized and worked within what I would consider “the standard” for some time now, and I am anxious to play with design a bit more. Fortunately, today’s experimental style of poetry allows for this, so if you seek unique presentation, let your words speak not just to the ears, but to the eyes.
Just keep a few things in mind:
Chapbooks are generally no larger than 5.5” across x 8.5” down and, depending on the printer’s print capabilities, they are often smaller. What’s your preference? Keep it in mind as you mentally fill pages.
Shorter lines and shorter poems allow more design creativity. Haiku poems work great for flexibility, as do poems with just a few syllables per line.
Extreme variations in line length or poems with one or two very long lines will throw the margins way over to the sides of the page. It is to be avoided as the white space looks forced rather than creative.
Spaces that set thoughts out like distant clouds allow “zen space” (as one of my current clients puts it). Love it.
You may provide your own design with compatible files that can be pasted to each page. If it’s creative and unique, then I would be glad to package it.
Better yet (from my perspective), bring your words to me in a standard format but give me license to step outside—perhaps way outside—“the standard” so your words may be multi-sensory in an engaging sort of way.