ATTENTION POETS--DEMAND FORMATTING CHANGES FROM HUBPAGES !
I had intended to send this Hub as a note to HubPages staff, but then I realized that the issues raised here affect every poet on HP, so I decided on a hub to reach as many of you as possible. If this Hub generates the kind of response I anticipate, I'll send the whole package to Hub staff. If they see a strongly united front, we stand a better chance for change.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of poets post their work on many sites in HP. Those who lay out their work in conventional line-lengths from left side of the page to right, probably have no formating difficulties with HP. Since the 1920s, however, format in modern poetry has been decidedly unconventional. Poets now may leave many spaces between words, write in single-space, then double-space, use single-word “paragraphs”, capitalize in a particular way in stanza one, then change the pattern later on. . . . .and so on.
The formatting availabilities on HP are so limited that poets often cannot layout their work the way they wish. I can't even illustrate what I mean, because if I lay out words below in what might seem a “scattered” manner, HP will “correct” them into a format that “it” has decided is the way it shall be ! How infuriating is that? Imagine a music producer changing the notes in a song because it was easier ! How might the composer react?
Let's get specific.
Most poets single-space their work, with a break between stanzas. If the lines are quite long, HP might permit the single-spacing. If, however, the lines are short, or single-word lines, HP will probably “decide” to DOUBLE-space all the lines of the poem. Never mind the impact this arbitrary editing can have on the poet's meaning, focus on the simple fact that that is NOT WHAT THE POET WANTS. She or he is the writer and should be the judge of how their work will be spaced.
We go to ridiculous lengths to get around this problem. Poets compose in Word, then try to copy and paste the whole poem onto HP. Sometimes that works, usually it doesn't. Or you can try composing in notepad, then transferring it in. The simple point is—why should we have to resort to these cunning strategies to circumvent problems created by our own carrier?
Many poets write “free” verse. One line will have three words in conventional order, the next line eight words, the next line four words, followed by ten spaces, then another word on that same line. HP will NOT permit this practice, even though that layout is critical to the poet's intent, hence critical to the way the reader will perceive the poem.
in other words, HP is actually dictating what a poet can and cannot do. I find it hard to believe that HP would be indifferent to this injustice.
This is the cyber-age. Anything technological is possible. Poetry is enjoying a long-overdue resurgence of interest worldwide, readership is up, publishing is up, on-line resources for poets are increasing--so alternatives to HP are increasing. I refuse to believe that correcting these problems is beyond the capabilities of HP technical staff. Poets WANT to stay with HP. It is family. It is also a huge site with millions of readers and participants. We also contribute to HP's advertising base, and we deserve HP's consideration on these simple requests:
- Permit single-spacing when the poet wants it
- Permit word placement wherever the poet wants it
- Pay attention to whatever other formatting requests poets bring to light in their comments on this Hub,
FELLOW POETS – please comment on this Hub. Be specific. Give examples. Be indignant. Let HP staff know that these are serious issues for us, and we demand significant action.
The hottest part of Hell is reserved for the fence-sitters.