Poetry embedded within prose

Hey everyone. I’m formatting a novel that has scattered bits of poetry throughout. What is the best way (or what are some recommended ways) to format the poetry embedded within a page of prose?

Some of my issues:

  • I like those section break icons when I hit enter twice in prose, but each stanza of poetry is separated by a space causing those icons between them.
  • I like not having the first paragraph of prose indented after a break, but, as above, breaks between stanzas in poetry trigger the first line of the next stanza to not be indented
  • I’d like different formatting, especially line spacing

Thanks in advance for advice!

Moving this to support per mod’s request.

For cases where you have lots of standardly formatted text but incursions of some special blocks of text, like poetry, you could:

  1. Define a custom paragraph style for poetry lines – probably with some paragraph inset and single spacing between lines. Since you probably want some line spacing before and after the verse block, you might want to add that to the paragraph styling as well – but then, since you don’t want that spacing but at the start and end, use hard linebreaks between the poetry lines, rather than parapgraph breaks.

  2. It would also be possible to do the work of the above at compile time using assignments to a special Section layout, but only if you are putting each verse bit in a separate document in Scriv.

All that said, if these are serious/substantial presentations of poetry and you want a professional look with your typeset poetry, you are going to have to touch up your compiled output in the end anyway. If you examine typeset books of poetry, you will find that the standard is to adjust the left margin of a poem so that the entire body of the poem look visually centered on the page – this is something you will have to adjust by eye.*


p.s. I have no clue what you mean by the first-quoted item in your list. What are these icons you speak of? When I hit two carriage returns in Scriv, I just get, well, two carriage returns!

  • Though I did once come across and implement for a website an algorithm for calculating the appropriate margin for this on the fly! One coukd probably also implement it as a Word macro, I suppose, if that is where you will be post-processing your compiled output.