What To Name A Poetry Book

What to Name a Poetry Book

Writing poetry can be quite a process, and often when a book of poetry is ready to be published, one of the greatest challenges is finding the perfect title. Whether the titular poem is the book’s leading theme or completely unrelated, a good poem title can help to give your message the maximum impact. There are a few things to consider when coming up with a title.

To begin, it is important to think about what your delivery is. If the poetry is serious, melancholic, or thought-provoking, then a title accordingly should not be too witty or frivolous, as this may be confusing for the reader. If the poetry is more lighthearted, then a humorous title may work well to reflect this. In either case, it is crucial to ensure that the title is not too long, as rightly it should be the most prominent part of the book. Similarly if it is too “cutesy” or hard to understand, it may be seen as unprofessional or off-putting.

Still, there also needs to be something distinctive and intrinsic to the title. This can be your own name as the author, a well-known expression, a double entendre or just something clever or unusual. By including a word in the title that is foreshadowing to the content, the reader will understand what the book is about. It is however important to not be too vague in the title of the book, as readers will not know what it is about and won’t buy it.

However, even when you have made these decisions, it is good to create an array of choices to present to the publisher. This can help to increase the chances of finding the best possible title for the work. Furthermore, the publisher may have its own parameters, such as promotional considerations and branding that could affect the title, so it is important to take those factors into account.

Finally, it is important to remember that the title should represent the poem and the poet. The title is often the first impression of the poem, so it needs to be original, memorable, and reflective of the poem itself.

Keep it Short

The poem title needs to represent the feelings and ideas within, while at the same time being memorable and concise. Long titles, no matter how clever, are often confusing and can lead to the poem being diminished in the mind of the reader. Instead, the poem title should be easily recognizable, leading to the selection and eventual reading of the poetry itself.

Moreover, the title should stand out from the other titles of books on the same subject. It should be free from any misunderstanding, leave no room for misinterpretation, and should be immediately understood the moment it is read. To achieve this, the title should be short, easy to read, and clear and direct in its intent.

Adding a thematic focus and a dash of creativity can also add to the poetic title. A poetic title that sets the mood of the book is a great way to draw in potential buyers. This can be achieved by making sure the title is suggestive of the emotions found in the book, with an appropriate level of alliteration and repetition.

Display Qualities to Make it Stand Out

Great titles need to highlight characteristics that separate it from all the other titles. Titles should demonstrate qualities such as being inspiring, moving, witty, enthralling, unexpected, or controversial. They should also be hinting at the theme or the core of the book – such as loneliness, courage, or resilience – combined with an element of the unexpected.

In addition, the underlying message of the book should be relatively easy to understand, with the title able to work alone a kind of code for readers to decipher and become captivated by the book. Moreover, the title does not mean the poem itself should be a reflection on the title, but that the title should be broadly reflective of the contents of the book.

Additionally, it is also important to make sure the title calls out to the target audience, as this helps readers to immediately recognise what the book is about, and whether it is something they are likely to be interested in reading.

Using the Poem as Title

In some cases, the title of the book can actually be the leading poem in the book. This isn’t always necessarily a great option, as it can be difficult to describe the content of the poem to those that are unfamiliar with the contents. Still, it does provide a good reference-point and could be an interesting way to let people know that the title itself is a poem. Whether this is actually a good option depends on the individual poem itself, as it needs to be powerful, memorable, and very close to the thematic focus of the book.

Ultimately if the poem chosen is that good, it should be at the start of the book, and with a title-poem this can make a great first impression upon the reader, setting the tone for the other poems. Additionally, the poem can also be found in other places, further aiding in the branding of the book and show-casing its quality and connection with the had audience.

Other Options

Another approach may be to include the title phrase highlighted throughout the book. This tends to reference the entire book, and as a result, compounds the reading experience. This approach is a great way to build a narrative throughout the book, allowing for the title phrase to be more than just words, but become a story.

This may be a way to avoid directly referencing the entire book, as this tends to limit its reach. By highlighting the title phrase, readers can recognize the phrase, but be open to interpreting it in various ways. In this way, the title phrase does not impose meaning, but instead adds a layer of depth, allowing the reader to build an understanding of the book.

Researching For Inspiration

When coming up with the poem title there are plenty of resources online to help find the perfect poem title. For example there are online poem generators which can provide suggested titles and ideas, as well as offer alternative titles which may take on a slightly different form than the original idea.

Similarly, other sources such as advertising, television, and films may be a way to do research. Oftentimes the right phrase emerges when being exposed to various materials, allowing for the title to be polished and perfected. Moreover, talking with peers, friends and family can often be helpful, as different perspectives can draw out alternative ideas.

Don’t Be Shy To Stray Away

Although it is important that the title of the poem shines through, it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If the poem title does not immediately work, then it is not necessary to be despair. Instead, follow the above tips and research, to give more options and direction when it comes to creating the perfect title.

It is also important to not be too rigid in the beliefs around creating a title, as there may be other directions that you can travel in and not abandon entirely. These can lead to unexpected outcomes, and while they may take some research, they could lead to better results than you could have ever imagined.

Taking the Pause to Make the Title Right

This may seem like a daunting task. After all the commitment to creating a work of poetic art, it can be hard to find the perfect title for it. However, it is important to remember that taking the time to decide on the best title for the poetry book is as important a stage as any in the process of creating it.

The title is what will draw readers in. It helps to convey the style, substance, and message of the poem, and can be a great way to elude to the poem’s themes and motifs. Ultimately, the title should not be seen as a requirement, but as a chance to let your poetic voice come through.

Experiment With Styles

The title of your poem also doesn’t have to be what would normally be expected. Instead, it can be a great way to experiment with different styles. For example, a funny title, or an unexpected figure of speech, can give the poem book a greater impact than expected, and draw the curiosity of the reader.

Moreover, it is important to make the title an extension of the poem, changing it in ways that make it ownable and exceptional. A great title can captivate readers, while a title that is too generic may just blend in with the other titles of the genre.

Remember the Theme

The theme is one of the most important elements of a poem book, so it is important to have it in mind whenever a title is being considered. Oftentimes, a poem title that references the underlying theme of the book can lead to a more powerful poem collection with an immediate and lasting impact.

Additionally, the title can draw in readers that actively search that topic of the poem. This means that if the title is relevant, readers are going to be more likely to take an interest in the book, and ultimately spend time with it.

Let it Go

When considering the poem title don’t forget to consider the impact of your poem – what does it say about you and your work as a poet? It may even be helpful to have a friend or family member read a selection of poems, and ask what title they would pick for the book. This can help to draw on outside perspectives and give ideas for a unique and impactful title.

Remember, finding the perfect title can be difficult, so don’t be afraid to try again. A poem title needs to be the first impression of a poet’s work, and so sometimes it is better to make revisions in order to get it right instead of settling for something unsatisfactory.

The Creative Process

Finally, it is important to remember that you shouldn’t pressure yourself too much when choosing a title. Try to set aside artistic doubts as much as possible, as this can help to bring a fresh perspective to the work when seen for the first time.

Sometimes it can be useful to write the poem title first, and then think of the poem that might fit it. This may be the best approach, as the title will become the central phrase of the poem, and is the one thought that should define the piece.

Additionally, when you have found a good title and poem, leave it for a while and let it sit for a few days before returning to it. Space can be a great way to allow for inspiration and innovation, as getting space from a poem can quite often lead to a better understanding of why the poem may have been written and the title it deserves.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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