Should a poet have an editor review an anthology?

by Brad McGarr
(Tempe, Arizona, United States of America)

As a poet, I've considered several times publishing an anthology of my work, both poems currently published free-to-view online and unpublished works. Being that my poetic style tends to go against normal laws of writing (lack of capitalization, no punctuation, etc.), should a poet still obtain the services of an editor?

Hello Brad,

This is an excellent question on two counts.

First, there is a question about editing poetry. Many people assume that editors are all about proper grammar and spelling. Of course, that's what an editor does in a copy edit. But editors do much, much more than editing grammar. I believe that a poet should have an editor. The editor is the first critical reader who can give feedback.

Second, there is the question about whether you should have an editor review an anthology in particular. Again, I believe an editor can be very helpful. Besides looking at individual poems, the editor makes suggestions about the structure of the book.

My advice to you is to find an editor who specializes in poetry. Be bold. Contact a publisher that publishes poetry and ask for a recommendation. Or contact the English department of a University and ask one of the poetry professors to do your edit. Alternately, ask the professor to recommend a student with a gift for deeply understanding poetry.

Best wishes with your book.

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