‘Opening’ Anthologies from the OU Poetry Society

By Sue Spiers - Editor Openings 35,36 and 37 (2017, 2018 and 2019)


The OU Poetry Society (OUP) send out five workshop magazines during the year and, over Christmas and the New Year members vote for their favourite poems. The votes are usually spread over several poems for each poet. Only one poem for each poet is used in the anthology, if poems receive the same number of votes the poet can choose which one goes into the anthology.

At this point the results are printed in the next workshop magazine and the editor starts typing up the anthology poems taking careful note of the poets’ name to correctly attribute the work in the index and for copyright purposes. The editor uses Word to compile the manuscript turning poems printed on A4 in the magazine into A5 for the book. Some of the poems have long lines too wide for A5; some will cover more than one page in the anthology. The editor contacts each poet to approve the A5 layout. Word creates page numbering and an index.

The order of the poems is decided on a spreadsheet looking at the themes in the poems, the size and style of the poems to vary the long and the short, the lyrical and the narrative, the formal and free verse into a pleasant read for the finished article.

The editor adds in the pages for copyright and registration purposes, credits for cover design and information to contact the poetry society. The foreword is a statement about the aims and purpose of the society.The editor also gets to choose or create the cover images, usually an image that reflects their choice of the stand-out poem in the anthology. The backcover includes a picture from the most recent poetry weekend as are presentation of all the members. The editor checks the permission to use the cover image, a couple of years ago the artist requested a copy of the anthology as payment for the image’s use.

The manuscript and cover templates are sent electronically to a Print-On-Demand (POD) service and a proof copy ordered. Ideally the proofcopy is read by a keen eye for spelling and punctuation errors and omissions, on the lookout for font discrepancies and reference errors (poem, poet and pagematching). When all is hunky dory the order is placed for the print run, which is distributed by the OU Students Association around the time of the August issue magazine. Six copies are sent to the British Library for formal registration of the book. The anthology is available to purchase from the OU Poets website: https://oupoets.org.uk/anthologies/


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