When I joined PoetrySoup I was surprised by the limited typography available when submitting a poem. For me, typography is important since I use only limited punctuation in my work and depend upon the typography to give the reader hints about pause, emphasis, etc.. I then came across a poem and subsequent essay by Kevin Shaw regarding "white space."
I have been designing web pages for about 25 years. The following provides some information about how to achieve basic typography on PoeterySoup.
WARNING: the information presented applies only to the poem entry field on the PoetrySoup Submit Poem page. I use MacOS and do not have access to a Windows machine. I have tested all of this on all of the most common browsers available to me. If you have any problems, please notify me in the comments field below.
White Space: the unprinted area in a printed item such as the spacing between paragraphs or the margin areas.
Alignment: the horizontal alignment of text on the page, sometimes referred to as text justification. There are four basic types of text alignment:
- left aligned ( the text is aligned to the left margin.)
This is a left aligned line
- right aligned ( the text is aligned to the right margin.)
This is a right aligned line
- Centered (the text is centered on the page.)
This is a centered line
- Justified (the space between words is adjusted so the text occupies the entire line.)
This is a justified line. Note that it is aligned to the left and right margins. Justified text is normally used for longer text passages, Short lines are left justified.
In PoetrySoup, the default alignment for poetry entries is left alignment. It is possible to right-align text only by inserting spaces at the beginning of a line. It is also possible to center a line or lines. Justified text is not possible.
To center text in the poem entry field, precede the text to center with <center> and follow the line or lines with </center>. This typographical information is called "tags." (more specifically "opening tag" and "closing tag.").
Two other tags are also allowed when entering poetry: and for bold text and and for italics .
Note that tags are always in pairs and the closing tag always contains a slash (/). Be sure to check your work when you use typographical tags.
The term "entities" is simply technospeak for "special characters." These often come in handy if you want to include some words from a non-English language a la e. e. cummings who often included Greek. For instance, if you wanted to include α, β, γ (alpha, beta, gamma) in your poem, you could write: α β γ
Note that each entity begins with an ampersand "&" and ends with a semi-colon ";"
One entity that many people seem to want to use is the "tab" character. This is available as the entity and displays on the user's screen as 8 spaces which you can also use. I prefer the tab entity, but that is a matter of taste.
A complete list of all entities is available at here