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Old 05-24-2014, 06:00 AM   #1
canpolat
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Red face Poetry is tricky

Hi,

I'm working on a poetry book and looking for a way to define "preferred page breaks". As you may have guessed, I want the page breaks to happen at verse boundaries. I wonder what would be the best way of handling this situation. My Google search didn't return much (probably I was using the wrong keywords)...

Last edited by canpolat; 05-24-2014 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 05-24-2014, 06:33 AM   #2
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Apply "page-break-inside: avoid" to your stanzas and hope for the best.
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Old 05-24-2014, 06:40 AM   #3
canpolat
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Perfect. I tried
Code:
page-break-after: avoid;
for the <br> tags, but it didn't work. Your method seems to work on my setup at least Thanks.
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Old 05-24-2014, 07:05 AM   #4
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You have found a difficult thing to do. People have gone round and round trying to get the lines to line up and also to reflow desirably when the text size is enlarged. Since it is all but impossible to control vertical alignment, this is an ongoing issue.

If this is a major issue for you and you aren't trying to publish these for pay, you can make a pdf of them and that would freeze them in place. Most readers will display pdfs.
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Old 05-24-2014, 07:21 AM   #5
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Thank you for your response mrmikel. I have gone through some of the proposed solutions. Among the ones I have seen I'm closest to Formatting Poetry for Epub and Small Devices when it comes to breaking lines. Still, a lot of manual work.

I'm not planning on selling anything. I was merely experimenting on this tricky format (to understand the limits). Publishing PDF may be the best way as you point out. When I publish something I prefer to publish both in ePub and in PDF. Maybe poetry should be an exception?
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:23 PM   #6
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Why not do your best effort for both with the realization that although the content may not be displayed optimally?

I can't think that Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night will be any less powerful for being imperfectly displayed.

A diamond is still a diamond whether it is in a paper sack or a jewel pouch and just as valuable.
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Old 05-24-2014, 03:03 PM   #7
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I, as the "publisher" can actually settle for that. And I suppose some of the readers will also accept it. But then there is the poets who want their poems to display just as they intend them to appear. I can understand them since poetry is -at times- visual as well (Visual Poetry, Wikipedia).

That doesn't mean I will give up
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Old 05-24-2014, 03:12 PM   #8
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I give up on them. The authors and poets who fret about how it looks I have trouble taking seriously. Whatever work I do, it is hard enough to get the content right, let alone fiddling with the display of it.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mrmikel View Post
I give up on them. The authors and poets who fret about how it looks I have trouble taking seriously. Whatever work I do, it is hard enough to get the content right, let alone fiddling with the display of it.
I imagine if I were a poetry lover I would be more informed to the point where I'd have the right to judge. Apparently poetry is special. I wouldn't know -- and I'm happy that way. No one is helped by hearing my lack of appreciation for those mysterious special needs.

If someone feels that part of their artistic vision is in the way it is displayed, who am I to argue?

If they feel the look is important enough to put work into getting right, that is their concern.
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Old 05-25-2014, 03:23 AM   #10
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Fight back against poets who try to force their aesthetic tastes in fonts on you! Listen to their poems using text-to-speech software. That'll learn 'em.
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Old 05-25-2014, 04:37 AM   #11
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I've experimented with allowing page-breaks only after full stanzas. I found that it only makes sense for very short stanzas, 4 verses at the absolute max (personally, I think 4 is too many already), because it will leave you with a lot of white space at the bottom of the page - which I personally don't like at all when it isn't the end of the poem. Lots of printed poetry books have page breaks inside stanzas, so why shouldn't ebooks?

And the best thing to do if you're really trying to figure out how to format poetry - download some poetry books from the MR library and reverse-engineer any formattings you might like.
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Old 05-25-2014, 05:38 AM   #12
canpolat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleshuffle View Post
I've experimented with allowing page-breaks only after full stanzas. I found that it only makes sense for very short stanzas, 4 verses at the absolute max (personally, I think 4 is too many already), because it will leave you with a lot of white space at the bottom of the page - which I personally don't like at all when it isn't the end of the poem.
Good point. If the next stanza is long and a page break is inserted, there should also be a way to indicate that the poem did not end but will continue in the next page. Or, perhaps upon breaking a stanza, it should be indicated so that the reader knows where the stanza begins and ends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleshuffle View Post
Lots of printed poetry books have page breaks inside stanzas, so why shouldn't ebooks?
I think this is basically due to the general understanding that ebooks are free from the limitations of the printed formats. That the authors and publishers have a higher degree of freedom when it comes to representing the content. A lot of complicated and clever things can be done using the web technologies. And that's what people understad when we talk about digital content. I think that sets expectations. So, it's only natural for people expect more from the ebooks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleshuffle View Post
And the best thing to do if you're really trying to figure out how to format poetry - download some poetry books from the MR library and reverse-engineer any formattings you might like.
I'll do that. If you have any particular examples please share. Maybe others will also benefit...
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Old 05-25-2014, 06:54 AM   #13
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Fight back against poets who try to force their aesthetic tastes in fonts on you! Listen to their poems using text-to-speech software. That'll learn 'em.
I am along with you on this one. It will work on my tablet, but my PRS-300 remains silent....

I am all for exploring the possibilities of layout, but deplore cleverness for its own sake...see ransom note syndrome.

Until everyone has 10" or greater tablets, any user with access to the increase text size button can blow anything up. That is why I keep harping on one size doesn't fit all for epubs...the sizes of the screens are so different.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:42 PM   #14
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widows and orphans can be used to aid in obtaining good page breaks.

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Old 05-26-2014, 03:49 AM   #15
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I'll do that. If you have any particular examples please share. Maybe others will also benefit...
Well, you could get any of pynch's editions that contain poetry (I think the last one with poetry he put up is Hardy), and I think my own Landor edition is quite nice as well if I do say so myself. I wanted to point you to something done by Jellby too, but it seems he has never uploaded any poetry here, although he has given a lot of of great advice on the topic in the epub subforum. It's always worth clicking around in there for a while - you'll never leave without some good ideas.

In general it's best to look for more recent uploads since we all live and learn; there's a lot in my earlier uploads that I would do differently today.
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