Wind talks to me
speaks of Sioux
full of deer trails
cones tumbled through
thunking the ground
to roll downhill
by Sheryl Nelms
Dallas Branch, TX
The Pen Woman magazine, free to NLAPW members and available for purchase to the public, has just gone to press and will be arriving in members’ mailboxes in the coming weeks. Visit our Bookstore to purchase the magazine or our other Pen Women Press publications.
Poetry followers will notice a change in the formatting of the poems in the magazine: the byline now appears below the poem. One reason for the change is that because we include the branch information of our members, having the byline after the body of the poem prevents that additional info from breaking up the flow between the title and the body of the poem.
Another question I have been asked is whether a title should include the form of the poem in parenthesis after the title, such as Mad Girl’s Love Song (a villanelle) by Sylvia Plath. My personal opinion is that in common forms, such as villanelles, sonnets, and haiku, it is not necessary, and you’ll notice Sylvia Plath didn’t include it. For more “obscure” forms, such as a sestina, or to specify a specific form, such as Petrarchan sonnet or a Mason sonnet, it might be a good idea, depending on the audience. Some editors find it distracting (Would you put Free Verse next to a title?) or even insulting (Really? I wouldn’t have known this was a sonnet if you hadn’t told me). On the other hand, the form might also be an integral part of the title. as in Sonnet for a Rainy Day, or see A Kind of Villanelle by Joyce Sutphen).
What do you think? What have you done in your own poetry? What do you like, not like?