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Old 07-19-2010, 12:42 PM   #1
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SFGate: E-book readers change poetry forms

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...BUN21EFS7H.DTL

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Billy Collins, one of the country's most popular poets, had never seen his work in e-book form until he recently downloaded his latest collection on his Kindle.

He was unpleasantly surprised.

"I found that even in a very small font that if the original line is beyond a certain length, they will take the extra word and have it flush left on the screen, so that instead of a three-line stanza you actually have a four-line stanza. And that screws everything up," said Collins, a former U.S. poet laureate whose "Ballistics" came out in February.
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"I have mixed feelings about poetry and e-books," said award-winning poet Edward Hirsch, whose "The Living Fire" came out in March in hardcover, but not as an electronic text. "I don't think it's the best way to read poetry myself, and I wouldn't want to read it on the e-book, but it also seems important to have poetry available wherever possible."
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:46 PM   #2
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Is tech available so that you can lock in formatting when you publish digitally? You can publish in PDF form if nothing else, and maintain poetic integrity.
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Maggie Leung View Post
Is tech available so that you can lock in formatting when you publish digitally? You can publish in PDF form if nothing else, and maintain poetic integrity.
That is a big issue right now with ePub and iBooks, apparently (and I assume other readers)-the whole "publisher intent" vs. "user customization" of fonts, sizes, formatting, etc.

PDF and, I'm guessing, Blio, both do get around those issues...but add navigational challenges on smaller screens. I have to say that with the iPad, PDFs are suddenly quite usable for the first time, for me.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:14 AM   #4
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Poetry books were one big factor in my initial purchase of a KDX - for the longer line length available in portrait mode, and then the ability to view in landscape mode - a must (IMHO) for everything from Shakespeare to Whitman.

The KDX and the iPad can offer poetry in its original formatting (line breaks, etc.) - the problems will occur in the 5" and 6" screen readers.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:45 AM   #5
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When he adjusted the size to large print, his work was changed beyond recognition, a single line turning into three, "which is quite distressing," he added.

Poetry, the most precise and precious of literary forms, is also so far the least adaptable to the growing e-book market.
In agreement .
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:21 AM   #6
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i like the poetry books and that's why i buy a lot
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