National Poetry Day is celebrated on October 7, 2022, whether you’re a poet or poetry book editor. It’s a global affair and especially big in England but also notable for creatives in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Capitalization — A Poetry Book Editor Tip from CMOS
Interestingly, the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) just updated its Q & A regarding capitalization in poetry (wonderful timing)!
The beauty of the CMOS is that it covers so many writing disciplines and comes in very handy for a poetry book editor like me. For instance —
Poets have lots of leeway to wordsmith their work in certain types of poetic forms, especially free verse poetry. There are also ekphrastic poems (literary descriptions or commentary about visual works of art) and concrete poems that explore words, letters, colors, and typefaces. Elegies typically lack rules (but should focus on an event of death, mourning, and honoring).
As for capitalization, you can see from the Q & A above that intentional capitalization can be a matter of choice for the poet-artiste!
Rules to Follow
There are times when rules must be followed to achieve the standard in established types of poems.
Three-line stanzas with a 5/7/5 syllable count.
- Line 1 contains 5 syllables
- Line 2 contains 7 syllables
- Line 3 contains 5 syllables
- 3 quatrains (4 lines each) and a couplet (2 lines)
- Couplet usually forms a conclusion
- Rhyme scheme: ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG
- 19 lines
- 5 stanzas of 3 lines each
- 1 closing stanza of 4 lines
- Rhyme scheme: ABA, ABA, ABA, ABA, ABA, ABAA
- Line 1 repeats in lines 6, 12, and 18
- Line 3 repeats in lines 9, 15, and 19
Epigrams: short, witty, or satirical
Couplet or quatrain (2-4 lines in length).
If you’d like help, guidance, or editing services for your poetry, I’d love to consult with you. Email me at email@example.com, and let’s get started!