How to Make a Poetry Collection: Siren Song, by Tawni Waters

Dear readers,

I’ve been working, on and off, for the past several months, on making a book. Now, at last, I can show it to you.

Can I introduce you to Siren Song, by the wonderful poet and novelist, Tawni Waters?

Siren Song is the first book released by Burlesque Press, and it’s Tawni’s second: earlier this year, she published the novel Beauty of the Broken with Simon and Schuster. Tawni has built up a large following in her many essays and poems published on the Burlesque Press Variety Show, as well as with her regularly inspirational meditations on Facebook.

This collection is close to my heart for two reasons. Firstly, it’s the first book I’ve ever designed (I am the unpaid book editor / intern at Burlesque Press.) To create it, I’ve had become much better at cover layout, typography, Adobe InDesign, and publishing with Lightning Source. I recently had a conversation with the Customer Service representative at Lightning Source where we struggled to clarify which of the four possible versions of the colour black she wanted me to use.

Previously, I had always thought that there was only one black–not so in book printing. There are (at least) four, and two are very bad to use.

It’s a great feeling to finally hold the physical proof in my hand.

Secondly, I’ve come to deeply enjoy these poems. Editing a collection is a chance to be the work’s best reader, to become someone who knows the lines almost as well as the writer herself: it’s a great privilege.

I’m going to write a more substantial introduction to the book soon, and link to an NPR interview that Tawni has done on the book and her writing process, but if you’re curious, here’s one of the poems that Burlesque Press previously published online, a love poem, spoken by Mary Magdalene, after death, to the dying, crucified Christ.

This poem is a good introduction to the collection, which ranges over several different religions and mythologies, writing about Persephone and Judas, Isis and Osiris, as well as charting the poet’s own development as an independent, powerful voice, and her travels through Mexico and elsewhere.

The book will be available on Amazon soon. You can pre-order a signed copy on the Burlesque Press GoFundMe, as well as (for a higher fee) earn some very interesting rewards from the press and its writers. I’ll also be introducing the book at the Burlesque Press Literary Festival, where Tawni will be signing copies.

Best wishes to all your creative projects,


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