Four Features to Publish Your Poems

A roundup of tools in your Post Editor to help with formatting, spacing, and publishing your poems, just in time to begin National Poetry Writing Month.

Earlier today, we kicked off National Poetry Writing Month, also known as NaPoWriMo. Since you’ll be writing a poem each day, here are four easy-to-use features in your Post Editor to help with publishing your poetry.

Blockquotes

When you format your poems, consider blockquotes to call out bits of text. You can display text in a blockquote by placing it inside <blockquote> and </blockquote> tags in your Text Editor, or by clicking the blockquote button in your Visual Editor:

blockquotes

Here’s an example of how text is displayed in a blockquote:

Sifting through my Camera Roll

thousands of images not posted online

I hunt through my library

see the outtakes

and rejects of my days

the stuff I’d felt wasn’t good enough to share

yet these are the photos

unshared, unfiltered

that really tell my stories

“Fragments on Time”

Preformatted text

You can also use preformatted text to distinguish text within a post, placing it inside the <pre> and </pre> tags when drafting in your Text Editor. The blogger at City Jackdaw uses preformatted text for poetry; here’s an excerpt from a poem titled “Wolf River Blues”:

I lie on my back and watch the sky,
much as I did in childhood;
it is the same.

Back flat to the earth,
a dowsing rod of bone,
feet pointing to the sibilant stream...

 
In the Visual Editor, selecting text and choosing the “pre” setting in the style drop-down menu produces the same effect:

The "pre" (preformatted) setting in the style drop-down menu.

The “pre” (preformatted) setting in the style drop-down menu.

Indents and outdents

When you’re creating a post, you can indent and outdent text. In your Visual Editor, look for the Decrease indent and Increase indent buttons, just underneath the icons to insert and remove links:

indent

It’s a simple way to play with formatting and space, like so:

I love the dance of words on the page

Hit increase indent once to move your words forward

And press it again to jump a bit further

And even more, into the future

Keep clicking Decrease indent to return to where you started

And stay in the same place

The same moment in time

If you prefer

Extra line breaks

Another easy, simple way to play with space is to add extra line breaks. The Visual Editor leaves one blank line between each paragraph. But sometimes, especially with poems or experimental prose, you want more space between your paragraphs.

To add a line break, insert &nbsp; in your Text Editor where you’d like a space to appear. You’ll add this code as many times as you want blank lines. So for example, if you want three blank lines between two paragraphs, add the following in your Text Editor:

&nbsp;
&nbsp;
&nbsp;

Adding line breaks is a way to create pauses or to draw out moments in your poems, or simply to explore the dance between words and space. Note: If, after adding those spaces, you click back to the Visual Editor before publishing or updating your post, those spaces will be stripped out again.

For more tips on formatting and styling, read the support pages on styling posts and pages and the Visual Editor.


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Cheri Lucas Rowlands

34 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. christrocks

    I don’t think I’ll have time to post a poem a day this month, but I’ll try to throw a few in when I can. :) Thanks for the tips!

  2. wordscity

    I support and do love poetry and music. Lyrics and words create an inspiration beyond measure.

  3. Vikera

    Yeah, I’ve been using the quote thing for my poetry. I don’t like it, but I figured out that’s the only way. I might give the Preformatted text a whirl, see what happens. Thanks for the tips, guys!

  4. postaldeliveries

    What I ended up doing last year was writing the poem in the visual editor – then switching to the text editor to remove the extra blank lines in the same verse.

    That gave me the format I wanted.
    David

    • strongchest

      @postaldeliveries – thanks for that little tip about using the text editor to remove the lines – that works for me. It really improves the appearance of the text on screen. Now, if only I could improve my poetry…

  5. Charlotte Ortega

    I write a fair amount of poetry but have resisted the temptation so far to blog my poems. Appreciate the tools though that WordPress provides. Poetry is a very important art form. WordPress, thank you for keeping poetry alive and accessible!

  6. flammeusgladius

    Thanks! This is exactly what I needed.

  7. Morgan Hensley

    Just out of curiosity, how many and what tags do y’all use when trying to capture a poem? I know tags can be useful, but I’m not totally sure how to incorporate them into my blog posts. Any feedback would be appreciated, I’m pretty new to this.

    • Cheri Lucas Rowlands

      how many and what tags do y’all use

      Five to fifteen tags (or categories, or a combo of the two) is a good amount per post. The more categories you use, the less likely it is that your post will be included in our tag pages in the Reader. In addition to “NaPoWriMo,” you can use broad tags like “poetry” and “poem” and more genre-specific like “free verse” or “sonnet” or “haiku,” and so on.

      • Morgan Hensley

        Wow, I’m glad I asked because I have been doing it totally differently. In the past I’ve assigned tags based on the content/subject of the individual poem. I’ll take your advice and see how it goes. Thank you so much.

        • Cheri Lucas Rowlands

          I’ve assigned tags based on the content/subject

          That can work, too (a sonnet about a breakup could be tagged with “sonnet” in addition to “love” or “relationships”). On the popular tags page, you can try searching for specific terms in the search field at the top and see if there are results (that’s how you can tell if a certain tag is popular or not).

          Have fun!

  8. the blogging disciple

    I really appreciate this post about the publishing of poems. I’ve really been struggling with this since last year, so you can imagine…

    Now I can look forward to it not taking 3x as long to publish, as it did to write the poem! ;)

    I truly enjoy blogging on the WordPress platform. :D

    God bless you and Shalom! Beth

  9. Quickly

    Block quotes–depends on your theme.
    The space doesn’t always stick, especially if you move back and forth between editors.

    The Pre tag, though–that works.

  10. Don Royster

    Thanks for the info. Exactly what I had needed.

  11. phillhw

    I sometimes use italics for the poem.

  12. Janice

    Awesome! Thanks for the tips and encouragement.

  13. Jean

    I like the block quote feature the best. Italics I reserve just for a few words.

    Serifs = are the tiny feet at the bottom of letters or top limbs of letters. They are derived from older European calligraphic style of writing….meaning prior to 18th century or so.

    One learns by taking hand ink calligraphy. An increasingly lost art due to computers. The rule that we did learn in my advanced calligraphy courses was only 2 different complementary styles were necessary. Tradition yes, but also legibility and artistic harmony for the 21st century.

  14. Old Things R New

    Posting poetry makes me pull my hair and mutter bad things.

  15. wysjoyfulcompany

    I found some poems that I wrote when I was in Seminary ten years ago and I will expand them into Blogs as I work on discipline for my WordPress writing.

  16. james1211plussubs

    How are poems seen by others — is there a URL or something?

  17. Writingwildly by Linda Garcia

    I can’t post my blog on the NaPoWrimo link because it says wordpress already used????
    What can I do? Thank you?

  18. writinglesbian

    Very helpful!

  19. Present Day English

    Awesome! Gotta make time for writing poems!

  20. The Anime Connoisseur~

    Hmm. Nice tips! I’ll have to figure out what kind poem to write suited to my site though!

  21. Iris Orpi

    Just got to throw this tip out there, after having problems with the

    n b s p ;

    and indents when I go back to edit old poems. I find

    more useful, you can put in as many dots (or any character) as you need for the horizontal space and doesn’t get messed up when you switch from “Visual” to “Text” then back again.

    Just my two cents after five years of poetry blogging. :)

  22. Iris Orpi

    (Reposting the comment, because the last attempt got automatically formatted.)

    Just got to throw this tip out there, after having problems with the

    n b s p ;

    and indents when I go back to edit old poems. I find

    (less than symbol) span style=”visibility: hidden;” (greater than symbol)…(less than symbol)/span(greater than symbol)

    more useful, you can put in as many dots (or any character) as you need for the horizontal space and doesn’t get messed up when you switch from “Visual” to “Text” then back again.

    Just my two cents after five years of poetry blogging. :)

  23. oumissa

    Totally agree with @christrocks. I’d have to make do with posting a poem or two this month. All the same, I think this NaPoWriMo is a lovely idea from WordPress.

  24. Greater Voice

    Thanks. Such tips are always handy. Please keep releasing (or even repeating) them.

  25. erikleo

    Interesting. I have 10 tips for writing poetry on my blog. :-)

  26. ranu802

    Cheri, I did not get the daily post prompt today. Has something changed?

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