The Length of Your Poetry

Hello Poetteers,

There are many different kinds of poetry books and different options on the length of them. Before compiling your own book, research the market for similar pieces to know what you are getting into. Some readers may read all the poems, but some won't. I have to confess that I sometimes skim poems. I usually go for shorter poems and smaller poetry collections. Something has to touch my heart for me to read longer pieces. I'm starting to gravitate towards the thicker poetry books.

The average length is 60 to 100 pages of poetry, sometimes 200 pages feel like a lot. I think it depends on how you read. Some people read from cover to cover and others will read a bit of it through a length of time. It depends on the type of the book:

  • 20-30 for a chapbook
  • 50-80 for a full-length book
  • 200-300 pages are the max length. Be careful because it may seem too long.

It's about whatever the story and book require. Adjust where needed. The length and format of the individual poems matter too. You should be consistent. Have one poem per page.

The individual poems I write are usually shorter pieces. I can’t force myself to write longer pieces unless I feel there is more to the story and the story calls for it. Sometimes it may seem like a ramble if too long. I think my poems in short spurts. And I write several in one sitting. Eventually, I may have many similar pieces. I'll edit them and combine them together. 

It will come up later if a poem needs a change in story or length. The length or edits of a poem will eventually show itself. Just like when you have a poetry idea that you haven't written or a poem you haven't finished. For example, I have two poetry ideas. One is a poem about foreign language and another is about sunflowers. I noticed throughout the month I have been seeing signs to write the poem. Whether it's reading other poems about sunflowers or every other week I'm writing different parts of the language poem without thinking of the past pieces I've written (I know this because I have a tracking system for my poems).

Comment: What is the average length of your poems? Do you prefer shorter or longer pieces?

Stay inspired,



Crystal Collier said…
I like poetry of all lengths. A couple years back, I had the privilege of critiquing a poetry collection for a fellow author, and I found joy in her longer poems as they presented a full picture of life's moments. It was beautiful. Basically, poetry should be the length that best expresses the point.

P.S. I did go through your poetry collection, then got caught up in a hurricane and having a baby. If you still want feedback, give me a shout.