Help:Poetry

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Editing poetry
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H:POEM
This page provides help on editing poetry.

Line indentation and linebreaks[edit]

Poem extension[edit]

A software extension on Wikisource simplifies indentation and linebreaks. Wrap a poem inside <poem> tags; the linebreaks and indentation will be displayed as it is typed. A colon (:) at the beginning of the line will indent the line 1em. For example, see this code and how it renders:

<poem>
And oft by yon blue gushing stream
:Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
:And lingering pause, and lightly tread,–
:Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!
</poem>

will render as:

And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause, and lightly tread,–
Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!

Direct formatting[edit]

The alternative is to use {{gap}} and <br />. The {{gap}}'s default size is 2em, but, can be configured with a size parameter. It is recommended to use em:

And oft by yon blue gushing stream <br />
{{gap}}Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head, <br />
And feed deep thought with many a dream, <br />
{{gap}}And lingering pause, and lightly tread,– <br />
{{gap|4}}Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!

will render as:

And oft by yon blue gushing stream
 Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
 And lingering pause, and lightly tread,–
 Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!

This style can use any other formatting template, for example:

{{block center|{{smaller|And oft by yon blue gushing stream <br />
{{gap}}Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head, <br />
And feed deep thought with many a dream, <br />
{{gap}}And lingering pause, and lightly tread,– <br />
{{gap|4em}}Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!}}}}

will render as:

And oft by yon blue gushing stream
 Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
 And lingering pause, and lightly tread,–
 Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!

Centering of poems[edit]

Typeset poems are often centered on the page, but retain left alignment. This is hard to achieve with "normal" formatting ({{center}} will center each line separately). Use {{block center}} to align a poem to the center as a block:

{{block center|And oft by yon blue gushing stream<br />
{{gap}}Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,<br />
And feed deep thought with many a dream,<br />
{{gap}}And lingering pause, and lightly tread,–<br />
{{gap}}Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!}}

will render as:

And oft by yon blue gushing stream
 Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
 And lingering pause, and lightly tread,–
 Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!

If you choose to use block formatting with <poem> tags, it is suggested that the <poem> tags be placed inside the block formatting template. For example:

{{Block center|
<poem>
And oft by yon blue gushing stream
:Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
:And lingering pause, and lightly tread,–
:Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!
</poem>
}}

will render as:

And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause, and lightly tread,–
Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!

Note: This style of formatting does not work well where the poem spans multiple pages as the width of the block is based on the width of the longest line (or page if the line wraps). To achieve alignment across multiple pages, the start and end are controlled by {{Block center/s}} and {{Block center/e}} in main. The same templates apply the format to the Page namespace, but are not included (<noinclude></noinclude>). See documentation for instructions.

CSS Style Formatting[edit]

This is often very useful when the poem is among text within a book, or when there is a centered title. Note that in this situation it can be useful to add CSS styling to the poem tag. For example smaller text would be coded:

  • <poem style="font-size:smaller">text text text</poem>
{{block center|<poem style="font-size:smaller">
And oft by yon blue gushing stream
:Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
:And lingering pause, and lightly tread,–
:Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!
</poem>}}

will render as:

And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause, and lightly tread,–
Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!

Line numbering[edit]

For long works without numbered stanzas, it may be useful to add line numbers to the text for the convenience of those readers who wish to cite particular lines or passages. No single standard for this kind of markup has emerged on Wikisource yet. One method (used in Hellas for example) is to mark each fifth line in a small green font, to the right of the end of the line (so as not to interfere with the indentation). Each line number also includes an HTML anchor to facilitate direct linking — e.g. [[Hellas#line300]]. For example:

<poem>
...
If night is mute, yet the returning sun{{pline|295}}
Kindles the voices of the morning birds;
Nor at thy bidding less exultingly
Than birds rejoicing in the golden day,
The Anarchies of Africa unleash
Their tempest-winged cities of the sea,{{pline|300}}
To speak in thunder to the rebel world.
...
</poem>

will render as:

...
If night is mute, yet the returning sun 295
Kindles the voices of the morning birds;
Nor at thy bidding less exultingly
Than birds rejoicing in the golden day,
The Anarchies of Africa unleash
Their tempest-winged cities of the sea, 300
To speak in thunder to the rebel world.
...

Note that the line numbers are a few spaces after the end of the line. The numbers can also be aligned to the left or right of the page (or block, if it is within one) by adding the r or l parameter to the {{pline}} template.

{{block left|<poem>
...
If night is mute, yet the returning sun{{pline|295|r}}
Kindles the voices of the morning birds;
Nor at thy bidding less exultingly
Than birds rejoicing in the golden day,
The Anarchies of Africa unleash
Their tempest-winged cities of the sea,{{pline|300|r}}
To speak in thunder to the rebel world.
...
</poem>}}

will render as:

...
If night is mute, yet the returning sun 295
Kindles the voices of the morning birds;
Nor at thy bidding less exultingly
Than birds rejoicing in the golden day,
The Anarchies of Africa unleash
Their tempest-winged cities of the sea, 300
To speak in thunder to the rebel world.
...

Naming Different Versions[edit]

See Naming conventions for more information on naming.

Poems often have ambiguous titles, different versions also require disambiguation.

  1. Versions. If multiple editions of a text are hosted here, link those to and from the {{versions}} page.
  2. Disambiguation. The titles of poems are frequently ambiguous, different works with the same title should be linked from a {{disambiguation}} page. This is usually a poem by a different author.
  3. Titles. Poems can be created using the 'plain title' for the page's name, or distinguished from similar titles by year or author in parentheses. Adding a poem as a subpage of the work is preferable, the advantages of which increase with the degree of complexity and ambiguity.
  4. Redirects. Create redirects of title variations to the poems title or a versions page.

Any combination of these should assist a reader to find a page

perhaps one of several versions

amongst the works with similar titles

Use the header and its notes section to show the authority of a version, detailing the primary source, and the talk for expanded discussion of the text.

Creating a table of contents linking poems with plain titles should be avoided. The situation arises where the same poem is presented as appearing in two or more versions, perhaps a revised edition, and a misleading reference.

Poems often appear in a number of variations, perhaps significant, inclusion of these variants is left to the discretion of the contributor. Later contributions to poetry hosted by Wikisource may be derived from different sources, however, all documents at the site should identify their source precisely.

Text integrity is best maintained by using original scans, as described in help page, most poems are easily available in a number of variants. A complete book scan, even if only partly transcribed, is verifiable, easily corrected, and provides direct access to the source. The remaining contents of the scans can be easily finished by other contributors.

Assistance in uploading and preparing scan indexes, and with subpages, is available.

Summary:

  • Find a scan or other authoritative source for the poem. Create a version of the work as a subpage of a volume. Link it to similar titles. Ask for help and examples, if needed.

See also[edit]

mw:Extension:Poem