I'm a big believer that you don't need to fork over money to an eBook designer to create an eBook version of your poems. That is, beyond what you will spend to design your physical book. There are many poets out there insisting poetry can't be designed for electronic book reading. But I've been reading books of poems on my Kindle for years now. And if they're priced right, I buy books of poems on my Kindle I normally wouldn't buy in print. This usually happens when I want to test out a new poet or when I want to read a book but not necessarily "collect" it on my bookshelf.
There are special formatting issues for poems on eBook. Some special indenting creates problems, but over the last few years these issues have been overcome by some lit-minded, html-savy people who are generous enough to share their tricks with us.
Your Poetry eBook, Quick and Easy Formatting for Kindle by D.L. Lang is a great start for newbies. It's cheap and quick and informative for any poet who wants to stay up-to-date on how their books are made.
Looking to Read
Publishing by Gail Godwin was recently reviewed in Entertainment Weekly, whose review tells us the book “explores the writer’s shifting place in the publishing industry’s disheartening transformation—from a place where tweedy editors spent years nurturing gifted young writers to a marketing machine where authors must now come with ready-made personal brands.”
The Frank O’Hara Project
I just finished my first big experiment in reading someone’s collected works at the same time I read the biography. This idea started when I finished Edna St. Vincent Millay’s biography and then started her selected poems having forgot all the anecdotal stories from the biography.
I decided to slowly go through Donald Allen’s collected tome of O’Hara while reading City Poet by Brad Gooch, or as Monsieur Big Bang like to call it, that big book by The Gooch.
I started at the end of 2013 and finished just before Christmas in 2014! It took a year of bedtime reading!
I loved the biography and how its stories and poets overlapped with my studies on local Santa Fe poets over the same time-period. For instance, one line of the biography declares how O’Hara despised Vachel Lindsay.
The collected poems were a bit of a slog, containing over 400 pages of small printed verse. Many of his experiments were interesting at first but tedious after many incarnations; but I felt by the end of it I had my own personal little selected list of gems.
In any case, his famous poems are famous for a reason.