Size doesn’t matter. Or does it…

It seems like it used to be that a full length manuscript of poems was 48 – 60 pages, or am I mis-thinking that? Now I see contest after contest that requires at least 60 pages. My manuscripts seem always to fall at around 52 pages. Would adding 8 pages of poetry make it a stronger collection? Why the 60-page minimum? Why a minimum at all? Is more better? I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to editing, paring and paring down to core. But I know in theory anyway that that’s not always the best approach for all poems or all manuscripts. Rarely, however, do I think a poem or manuscript needs more; more frequently it needs more focus or more depth. If that means more actual text, well, that’s what happens along the way. But I find with my own work, anyway, better focus or depth doesn’t usually result in more. My current manuscript at 52 pages seems like a reasonable balance of sections and rhythms. I could probably find a handful of additional poems that fit. But should I? I fear that I’ll just be padding for the sake of making an arbitrary page count. I guess a more useful approach would be to take this as a challenge to write ten more solid poems addressing some of the themes of this collection. Oy.

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