I have had the pleasure of editing documents from different writing categories over the years but I have only once ever edited a poetry collection. Of course, I edit mine and I have had friends ask me to look at their poems but once, a respected senior friend gave me her poetry collection to read through and make recommendations.
At first, I prepared to edit like I usually do – prepare a style sheet, run through it with whoever commissioned me, and then get working.
Any Nigerian writing poetry definitely will use some colloquialisms and Nigerian names, references languages – easy peasy.
She will most likely write in British English- I checked through the document by running a macro (UKUSCount) and I was correct. She used British English except in three cases.
I moved into the document and it looked shiny and just needs me to read it, not edit it.
I changed the three American English usage to British format and moved in to check the punctuation.
And that’s when it hit me.
What punctuation rules apply to poetry?
How do you differentiate between the author’s creativity in use of space, punctuation, and even spellings(sometimes)?
I decided to play it cool and read through first.
Then I went online and read about ‘editing poetry.’
Then I went to one of my Editors’ groups on Facebook and asked: “How do you edit poetry?”
Let’s just say the answers were unanimous: “Use a light hand.”
Because: creative license.
Yes, I had fun reading the poems and it put me in the creative mood too.
I just wanted to document what a different journey it was for me.
P.S.: I edit business, technical and fiction documents.