Need guidance setting up a poetry collection

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Kazbek
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Post by Kazbek » January 26th, 2020, 9:38 am

Hi--

I need some guidance BC'ing my first collaborative project, based on a PD anthology of Italian women poets. I've posted to the Book Suggestion forum to ensure that there would be interest. I next estimated that the book contains about 250 poems by 100 poets over 300 pages. That seemed too ambitious for a single poetry project, so I'm considering splitting it into two parts, with the first covering poets to the end of the 18th century, which would come up to about 100 poems by 64 poets over 100 pages.

I 'm now trying to decide between different formats. I see five options:

1) Collection. Cons: would involve more set up work with the MW, author pages, and metadata. Pros: a) would make intros/outros more straightforward; b) would give us a place to put basic biographical info about these authors, many of whom don't have a Wikipedia page in any language and don't have their years of birth and death (or even full name) given anywhere in the book; c) might enable readers to contribute poems from other PD sources (see below).

2) Book with one section per poem. Cons: not clear what the intros/outros should be like; would need to cram the author name, poem title, and potentially life span into the section title. Pros: less set up work.

3) Book with one section per author. Cons: same as in #2, with even more text to cram into the section titles. Pros: a) same as in #2; b) fewer and longer sections with higher ratio of poetry to boilerplate text, but not by much.

4) Book with some sections comprising several authors. Pros and cons: same as in #3, to a greater degree, but potentially more straightforward intros/outros.

5) Free-form collection of Italian women poets with readers picking the poems. Cons: a) I have a hunch that this would result in fewer submissions, because very few if any of the poems or authors are well known and seeing how existing open sections seem to have a motivating effect on me as a reader; b) no clear notion of "done"; Pros: fewer complications than above, more freedom for readers.

Given the above, I'm leaning toward option 1. Does that make sense? If so, would it be easy and advisable to offer readers an opportunity to contribute additional poems from other PD sources, within the collection criteria? For example, there are at least two other PD books which contain many more poems by several 16th century authors from this collection. Is it easy to insert a new section in the middle of the MW, or would it involve inserting a section at the bottom and then manually copying entries below the desired new section one line down?

Thanks,
Michael

KevinS
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Post by KevinS » January 26th, 2020, 11:10 am

At the risk of thinking this to death, I would consider first how dedicated you are to this text. No matter the good intentions of others, this will be a project of considerable scope and work, work you will have to perform (albeit alongside others for periods.)

What you might consider---and this is only an idea---is to create two volumes, the first being the biographies of the poets. (There is even some poetry there.) One section per poetess.

If this is successful---when it's successful---you could move on to the poetry for the second volume. As for those intros, I think they could be quite simple, crediting the book, its editor, and the poetess in each section.

As you say, there are many options, but if you want to work from one text, I think you should try to approach it more systematically than a collection of 'record what one wants.'

Kazbek
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Post by Kazbek » January 26th, 2020, 12:37 pm

Thanks, Kevin. I'll draft short biographies for the author pages in both English and Italian and fill out the MW. I'm also reasonably sure that I'll be around to BC (and maybe DPL) the project, for some years, if needed. It will be a nice opportunity to practice my Italian. I want to give our regular and casual Italian readers more opportunities to contribute. I see that we have had some highly productive collaborations in the past (The Divine Comedy, 13 volumes of Pirandello's novellas, 2 large volumes of Straparola's novellas), and I'm hoping that the level of activity will pick up if we have a bit more variety of collaborative projects. The Galileo book is a worthy undertaking, but probably a bit too technical for many folks. I was planning to set up the relevant biographical sketches from the book as the final section of the project (that would be about 9 pages), but these don't seem to merit a separate project.

Michael

Kazbek
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Post by Kazbek » January 26th, 2020, 1:24 pm

Also, I'm assuming that if it's a collection, we don't need to read out the title of the anthology and name of its editor for every poem. That would be quite long. If you consider that many of the poems are quite short, and some have longish titles of their own, we'd be at risk of having intros that are almost as long as the poems.

Michael

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Post by annise » January 26th, 2020, 2:12 pm

Just to feed something else into the decision process, you say about 250 poems. Because of the way Archive handles things, there is a maximum limit of 255 sections to a project.
There is also a shortened disclaimer used in poetry collections - it may be necessary to "translate" it into Italian but I can't imagine that would be too difficult.
Anne

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Post by KevinS » January 26th, 2020, 2:17 pm

Kazbek wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 1:24 pm
Also, I'm assuming that if it's a collection, we don't need to read out the title of the anthology and name of its editor for every poem. That would be quite long. If you consider that many of the poems are quite short, and some have longish titles of their own, we'd be at risk of having intros that are almost as long as the poems.

Michael
Well, technically---and you would have to confirm this with your MC---a collection just requires a title and the author's name and the shortest of disclaimers. Those who contribute would just do one poem at a time and you would have to help catalog by adding all the additional data behind the scenes. (To be honest, it's all a little vague in my head.)

I wish I could be more helpful, but you really need an admin to speak to all your options. Some will be open to experimenting. (Most are.)

annise
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Post by annise » January 26th, 2020, 3:01 pm

I've been trying to find a similar project that is in the catalogue and found this https://librivox.org/the-book-of-american-negro-poetry-by-james-weldon-johnson/ which is one way you could handle it , maybe someone else can find another.
There seem to be 2 schools of thought about poetry projects, and I don't think you will get agreement about which is better- some think each poem needs it's own section, others that they are better grouped. Both are acceptable here.

Anne

Kazbek
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Post by Kazbek » January 26th, 2020, 3:24 pm

Thanks for the pointer, Anne (fantastic readings, too)! I think this format could work for the second part of the collection, where most authors are represented by multiple poems. In the first part, most authors have only one poem to their name, so it would increase the length of the intro without increasing the length of most sections.

Michael

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Post by Leni » January 26th, 2020, 5:13 pm

Kazbek wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 1:24 pm
Also, I'm assuming that if it's a collection, we don't need to read out the title of the anthology and name of its editor for every poem. That would be quite long. If you consider that many of the poems are quite short, and some have longish titles of their own, we'd be at risk of having intros that are almost as long as the poems.

Michael
Hi, Michael

Adding my two cents here, I feel like the decision is basically: do you want to make that one book available, or do you want to have a collection of Italian poetry? I am asking because I think it makes a huge difference. If you want that one book, then I would do it as a book, with shortened disclaimer, for sure, but the reader would come around and have those poems on the window, those options, and that is all. If it is a collection, most likely many of those poems in the book won't be read, because, as you said, the authors are not very well known, and you might end up with just a few of them from the book, and many others from other sources. There is no right or wrong here, just saying these are different things, I think.

Either way, you can make the poems and the poets searchable individually, which means creating catalog pages for each one of them, provided you fill up the metadata. If no one else offers to, I would be happy to MC this, either as a collection or a book. I don't speak Italian well, but I can read it fairly well, so I would be able to check anything needed.

By the way, we did a collection, similar to what you suggested, for Portuguese female authors (https://librivox.org/colecao-de-autoras-em-portugues-by-varios/). But we did not have a book collecting the poems already, so we just grabbed them from a variety of sources.
Leni
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Kazbek
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Post by Kazbek » January 26th, 2020, 7:11 pm

Thank you, Leni. You bring up a very good point. Upon some reflection, the only benefit of following that particular anthology seems to be that it would free us from the work of selecting the poems ourselves. A LV project would probably be better off picking a smaller selection of more consistent quality and modern interest. For example, one of the most striking poems of the Renaissance, Vittoria Colonna's verse letter to her husband upon his being taken captive in battle ("Eccelso mio Signor, questa ti scrivo") is not in it, although it can be found elsewhere in the PD. I think what I would like to do instead is BC a collection of Italian women poets without period restrictions, pick a few poems myself to start off the MW, and then invite others to select additional ones, listing potential PD sources. This also speaks to Kevin's suggestion of starting small.

From a technical standpoint, can a collection be easily rearranged after completion in chronological order for the catalog?

Michael

Leni
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Post by Leni » January 26th, 2020, 7:50 pm

Yes, provided there are no section numbers or anything like that added to the recording or to the window, I think there is no difficulty :hmm: It's been a long time since I cataloged a collection, but I am willing to try (and make mistakes, and try again), for sure.

ETA: In the Portuguese collection, what we did was to have in the first post links to good PD sources, so people wouldn't go astray and end up with a lot of doubtful sources. You could add the books you already have as preferred sources, while still allowing others to come up.
Leni
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TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » January 27th, 2020, 6:35 am

My thoughts:
From a technical standpoint, can a collection be easily rearranged after completion in chronological order for the catalog?
Archive.org automatically sorts files alphabetically by file name. So for there not to be issues during cataloging, we have to make the file names sort alphabetically also.

If you want to sort poem files chronologically, the readers, BC, or the MC would have to manipulate the file names to sort that way.

You could add the year of the poem to the file name, such as (using "IPC" for "Italian Poetry Collection"):
ipc_[year]_[poemtitle]_128kb.mp3
Then you as BC or the MC can drag-and-drop the sections into the correct order before cataloging.

Or you could manipulate the MW so that the section number in the file name is numerical and chronological:
ipc_01_various_128kb.mp3
but this requires either knowing the poems you're going to have recorded in advance, or the MC doing a lot of file renaming before cataloging. :hmm:
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Kazbek
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Post by Kazbek » January 27th, 2020, 8:53 am

Great. Since the dating of some of the poems is uncertain, we could add the year of birth (or death) of the author as the second element of the file name. Thank you both for your help!

Michael

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