Some Tips on Binding Your Own Poetry

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The famous poet, Emily Dickinson bound all of her poems herself into what were called fascicles, more commonly called ‘packets’. Placing your poems together in this fashion is a satisfying way of displaying your creative work. Here I will tell you how to make your own packets of poetry. For our purposes here, we will assume that you have only ONE poem per page. 

Lay out your poems in MS Word or similar word processor. Don’t add page numbers when making a book of poems. Set the page set up to Landscape with 1 inch margins and at least a .03 gutter. Click on the space that turns on Mirror Margins. 

Create two columns by choosing from the Insert Column menu. When you insert your poems they will automatically be routed to the next column. You should now have one poem per page. Check your Preview to make sure. 

Play with the fonts and sizes to arrange the text the way you would like it to appear. If the poem is very short, you may consider adding a picture or drawing to the page. Again, for our purposes here keep it to one poem per page. 

Print out your poems. Choose print odd number pages first, then reinsert the printed pages into your printer and choose print even number pages. You should now have a copy of your poems printed on both sides. 

Choose eight pages and stack them together. Now fold the set of eight in half. Take a ruler or heavy object and press firmly on the fold so that it is tight and sharp. If you have more pages, take another set of eight and do the same. Continue until you have all the pages folded into sets of eight. These folded pages are called signatures. 

Sew the pages together in the fold. I use thread to match the color of my pages. Puncture the paper through gently with the needle to make the holes before attempting to sew. Sew each signature together in this fashion. 

Make the cover of your book in the same way you made the poem pages. Depending on the size of your book, you may need to use legal size paper for the cover to make room for the spine. A book of 50 pages is going to need a spine of about 1/8 of an inch. 

Take the sewn signatures and place them inside of the cover that you made. Use very little glue to seal them in place. You can always add more glue later if needed. Gently set the book aside with a heavy book on top of it until it is dry. 

Some final advice: Use white or clear glue and use very little of it. Laminate your cover. Add your own cover art to the cover! Don’t try to add more than eight pages to a signature. Don’t try to make the book more than 100 pages.

You can always make Volume II, right? 

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