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Andrew B.
07-23-2010, 10:33 AM
I am trying to remember a method of formatting poetry that I read years ago. I think it was something like centering the longest line, then using the beginning of that line as marking the horizontal position against which all other lines are left justified. Or something like that. Does this ring a bell with anyone.

ktinkel
07-23-2010, 12:37 PM
I am trying to remember a method of formatting poetry that I read years ago. I think it was something like centering the longest line, then using the beginning of that line as marking the horizontal position against which all other lines are left justified. Or something like that. Does this ring a bell with anyone.That’s about right. I usually just dump the poem on the page, apply type specs and paragraph formatting (i.e., flush left, rag right and with appropriate leading), then move the block around to determine the place where the entire poem seems balanced on the page (not just the wide line). Center the type optically (by eye), not by measuring.

If you are setting poetry for print, you need to balance the left and right pages too.

Poetry is not usually justified — today, most is set flush left; sometimes the lines are centered. But the spacing is natural, not adjusted as it would be in justification.