The Forward Book of Poetry 2024 is the latest edition of poetry from the Forward Arts Foundation and it was our pleasure again, to design the epub version of the book.
Getting poetry to work properly in epub is always something of a task. The structure of some poems definitely make them work and read better in a fixed layout format, but Forward prefer the ebooks to be in flowable format. This does help a great deal with accessibility, as text can be increased or decreased in size suitable to the reader (whereas fixed has only pinch and zoom); but increasing font size (or even changing the font style) does mean that the poem lines will break, ruining the poets preferred structure. That means something of a trade-off, as can be seen from the print version of Delphi by Kit Fan and the epub version. Whilst getting the print version of Delphi to work in epub was no problem (tables), the reader increasing the font size of the poem would completely break it, so Forward asked for a simpler style for the poem to get around this.
We are not great readers of poetry here at Ninja Beaver. Politics or history is more on our bookshelves these days (along with far too many graphic novels), but every year of the Forward Book of Poetry brings forth challenging (abecedarian for the vagina) or fun (Dramatis Personae) poetry to read. This year was not too bad design wise (oh God, don’t get us started on Pages 22-29: an excerpt from The Ferguson Report: An Erasure from the 2022 edition) and our bespoke CSS worked well straight away with the majority of the poems.
A newer feature this year in the book was the Prize for Best Single Poem – Performed. This was for poems not actually in the print or epub version of the book, but performed by the poets via YouTube. A QR code in the print version led readers to the Forward site with the videos, but the epub version could easily have links to each of the poems separately or go to the main Forward site. The QR code in the epub was also made clickable, just in case people were reading the book on their mobile phones and not able to scan. A bit overkill design wise, but it covered all the bases.
As said, to work on the book per year is a pleasure and one we hope will continue.
The Forward Book of Poetry 2024 from The Forward Arts Foundation and published by Faber is available now in print from all good bookshops and online from Amazon.