A reader writes to ask:
I have three questions about longer poetry manuscripts.
In most cases, editors request poetry submissions that contain 3-5 poems, yet nearly every example I can see depicts a submission of a single poem. How, or should the subsequent poems be formatted differently? Does the address belong at the top of each poem or only the first?
When is a cover sheet appropriate? Is that only for manuscripts of poetry books and contests, or is a cover sheet also used for the typical submissions of 3-5 poems?
I see some conflicting advice online about how to format the second and subsequent pages of a poem that is longer than one page in length, but I don't see many clear visual examples like the ones you provide. Do you have any advice on those formatting issues?
These are excellent questions about poetry submissions, one of the least-discussed topics in the manuscript format conversation. Before answering them, I want to review the basics of poetry formatting.
To begin, place your name and contact information in the upper-left corner of your poem manuscript, same as you would with a prose manuscript. In the upper-right corner, optionally, you may list the number of lines in your poem. Skip a few lines, then center the title of your poem. Skip a few more lines and begin the text of your poem.