Snoqualmie River Trail by Tanya McDonald

Autumn is in full swing here. Leaves are changing color and abandoning their trees, our yard birds are going through seed and suet at a faster pace than a month ago, and I’m working on the layout for Kingfisher issue #2. Sequencing the poems took a bit longer than expected, mostly because I’m a perfectionist and I wanted each poem to resonate with the ones around it, rather than compete.

Issue #2 will include 185 haiku/senryu by 118 poets. I’m sure every editor has their own method for sequencing poems, but here’s how I go about the task:

  • Print all the accepted poems using as few sheets of paper as possible.
  • Cut out all the poems and tuck them into an envelope for safekeeping.
  • Neatly lay out all the little poem strips on a folding table in the living room.
  • Start organizing the poems in 4-poem spreads. This involves linking and shifting. Sometimes, poems in a spread are linked by the season, sometimes by a situation, sometimes by one of the senses, sometimes by time or color or mood, sometimes by something less definable. The shifting is more tricky, finding ways to make poems and spreads flow smoothly. Since I don’t organize the whole journal by season, I have to find creative ways to flow between, say, a spread of pandemic-themed poems to one that features love-themed poems. But that’s what makes it fun for me, and hopefully pleasing to readers.
  • Take photos of progress in case the cat jumps on the table and does some sequencing of his own.
  • Keep rearranging poems and spreads, reading and rereading for flow. Take breaks, sometimes for several days, in order to gain new perspective. Keep tinkering. As frustrating at this part can sometimes be, I love it, not only for the link-and-shift, but also because I get to spend a lot of time with each and every poem, figuring out where it fits among the others in the issue.
  • When everything locks into place and flows as it should, ask Russ to order a celebratory pizza.
  • Place all the poems into three small photo albums. I’m a very visual person, so this shows me how they’ll appear in the journal itself. It also helps when I’m reordering the poems in Word, which happens before everything goes into InDesign for layout.

And there you have it: sequencing in a nutshell. I’m not sure exactly how long layout will take, but since I’ve got the template from issue #1 to work with, it should be easier and faster this time around. I’ll post another update once it has gone to the printer. With any luck, I’ll start mailing copies around Thanksgiving.

Speaking of copies, there are still copies of issue #1 available for purchase, but when they’re gone, they’re gone. https://kingfisherjournal.com/subscriptions/

Enjoy the rest of October, and if you’re in the States, please vote!

7 thoughts

  1. Fascinating to learn of your process which I could not have imagined in a zillion years. How thorough you are, and how you love what you’re doing. It sounds very complicated and almost miraculous.
    Thanks for the gift of this email. I’m saving them in my own little photo book.

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  2. Thanks for the update, Tanya, I’m curious–did you get 1,500-2,000 entries and how long did it take you to cull to 185 ? Kim W

    On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 2:20 PM Kingfisher Journal wrote:

    > kingfishereditor posted: ” Snoqualmie River Trail by Tanya McDonald Autumn > is in full swing here. Leaves are changing color and abandoning their > trees, our yard birds are going through seed and suet at a faster pace than > a month ago, and I’m working on the layout for Kingfisher” >

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  3. Always nice to get a glimpse of the wizardess behind the curtain. And it’s nice to think our poems are being cared for once we send them out. Thanks for a great journal!

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