We're so excited to announce that we have collaborated with the one and only R.Clift! We've been following R.Clift on Instagram for months now and not only do we fall in love with her words but, also the way she designs and creates her poetry books. If you haven't seen her page yet or read her poetry books, we highly recommend you check them out! Her visuals and creative detail lure you in and make you want to keep reading more and collect them all.
After connecting with R.Clift, we thought it would be a great idea to collaborate and help other poets learn how to design and layout the making of a poetry book/manuscripts in more detail.
Here is our interview with R.Clift:
When did you start writing poetry?
Poetry was given to me by an old eccentric professor by the name of Art Smith, in my last year of university. It was January of 2017 when I took his class on a whim, just needing to fill a slot. I had no idea what poetry could be until he redefined it for me— and I would soon find out— it was the missing piece to everything.
Why did you decide to start sharing your words on Instagram?
In March of 2018 I was at a music festival, and on the last day— a dusty Sunday afternoon— I wrote a poem called “A Lost Letter to All Humans” and left it behind on a wooden desk in the music-filled forest. Later, I came back, wondering if it was still there, and found a man reading it. I sat down beside him, overcome with curiosity, and he told me it was exactly what he needed to hear. He didn’t know I wrote it, and when I told him that I did— the way that he looked at me is something I’ll never forget. He was crying, so I held him, and in that moment I realized my words had the power to reach people. I never believed it before then. The next day, I made my account— r.cliftpoetry.
Your books are full of beautiful imagery! What tools do you use to create them?
My photography is from a combination of several different cameras including a Canon SL1, a Sony a6000, and even my iPhone in a pinch. The photos all go through Adobe Lightroom & Adobe Photoshop before being placed in the manuscript in Adobe Indesign. My illustrations are hand-drawn and scanned in, then they go through Adobe Photoshop before being put into Adobe Indesign.
What will we learn in your upcoming course?
My upcoming course is focused on the design & layout of a poetry book. We will be discussing everything from where to start, finding a theme, & how to create a manuscript to actually breaking down the step by step process of making your own book in Adobe Indesign. I will be teaching various basic Indesign skills that one may need during the process of creating an interior manuscript and cover. By the end of the course, you will know how to create the PDF files needed in order to upload them to your preferred self-publishing service.
What advice would you give to other poets wanting to create their own poetry book?
Allow yourself to step outside of the norm and create something that reflects your own poetry and voice. You are one unique soul in eight billion, and so is your art, so know that you don’t have to make your book look like the top ten bestsellers— you can do whatever YOU want.
Creating your own book is giving life to the words that stir inside of you, and they deserve an authentic place to live. Know that this is within your reach, you have the capability to do this, and the world needs YOUR poetry book.
Where can we find you and your books?
R.Clift's course is called "The Complete Guide to Book Design & Layout for Poets" and will be launching on our website Friday, December 4th!