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Distilling Words to Their Essence: Editing Poetry for Impact

Written by Emily Salja; copy edited by Meagan Kus

When we think about editing poetry, we first have to think about what poetry is. This is something that poets and critics have debated for decades—what is poetry?

All writing, to an extent, comes from the heart—creative writing in particular—and poetry is one of those strange, elusive creatures that is stitched together mostly by heartstrings. Poetry is the least efficient way of conveying a message. It is the language of trauma and inarticulable feelings. In poetry, we write around things instead of at them. How do we edit something so personal?

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November 16, 2016: The Art of Editing Poetry: A Conversation with Shazia Hafiz Ramji

What: Editors BC monthly meeting
When: Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 7:00 pm (program begins at 7:30 pm)
Where: Welch Room, 4th floor, YWCA Health + Fitness Centre, 535 Hornby Street, Vancouver | map
Cost: Free for Editors Canada members, $10 for non-members, and $5 for students with valid ID. Registration at the door.

All editors must consider the needs of the writer, the reader, and the publisher or client when working on material, but this can be a particularly delicate balancing act for the poetry editor. What is considered? How does the editor navigate issues of poetic licence or the idiosyncratic use of writing mechanics? What are the desirable characteristics of a poetry editor, and what is happening in this publishing sector? Join us for a stimulating conversation about these and other topics as Talonbooks poetry editor and poet Shazia Hafiz Ramji speaks to moderator Lana Okerlund.

Shazia Hafiz Ramji is the poetry editor at Talonbooks and an interviews editor at Canadian Women in the Literary Arts, and she co-edited the “Intersections” issue of Poetry Is Dead magazine. Her poetry has been nominated for the 2016 National Magazine Awards and is forthcoming in The Capilano Review and the “Augmented Reality” special issue of Letters to the Editors. Shazia’s chapbook of poetry will be published by Anstruther Press in 2017, and her first book of poems will be out with Talonbooks in 2018.