How do you organize your poetry for future retrieval?

By form? (Where did I put that one haiku [read, out of 2,600]?)
By topic? (If so, what topic headings are in your cache?)
By date?
By prompt?

What if I file by form, but want to get together a collection of, say, only love haiku?

Have you found a method that works well for you?

16 thoughts on “‘Miss’Organization

  1. No organization, sheer chaos – relying on computer search to find them. I’ve just lost (deleted in error) two days work on an anthology, while trying to prepare it for printing. I have the last save – 7 out of 22 pages, and am by turns murderous (unsympathetic husband) and suicidal!

  2. I save each poem by year, month, day, then prompt. For example, “11-0912 Organization” would show today’s date and a poem about organization. (I also save a copy of my file on a jump drive, just in case my computer melts.) ^_^

  3. Netbook, laptop, desktop(s) all bear files of poetry with much redundancy. Thumb drives to transfer the multitude of work. Also, printed hard copy in a rusted file cabinet (you thought I was joking?). These are also placed in an excel file sorted by title. File contains: Title, first line of the poem, genre, form (if any), rhyme scheme (if any), category (and sub-category). The date isn’t very important to me with the mass of poetry I have assembled, one day is as the next. I have had multiple computers buy the farm and have lost a relatively small percentage of work, so it seems to be working for me.


  4. I have a folder for each year where I place all my poems written that year. For example, 11.MY POEMS.

    I also have folders called POET FORMS 1, POET FORMS 2, and POET FORMS 3. Each contains alphabetical files of each poetic form, along with the poems I wrote for that form. For example, in POET FORMS 1, in the file HAIKU, I explain the form and add my own haiku to it.

    Another folder is called BIBLIOGRAPHY PER YEAR, in which I add for each year (beginning in 1957) the bibliographic entry for each poem, story, article, letter, etc. that gets published.

    All of my folders and files are backed up on flash drives.

  5. I have them both in computer files and hard copy binders.

    I do it by month – ie september2011 – and then by day the poem[s] was/were written. And in addition to listing the poem[s], I indicate the poetic form, the prompt and where the prompt came from – ie Poetic Asides, Poetic Bloomings, etc.

    It makes life much easier when I want to retrieve something! ☼

    • See, this is why I asked. I THOUGHT I was being organized, but now that I have a couple of years under my belt, I’m realizing I’m doing exactly what you say. Ugh…

    • Yup, you’ve described me.

      I forgot to mention a tottering pile of hard copies in no particular order. The first year I made a looseleaf file with poems grouped by type – eg nonsense, political, childhood etc. The 3 succeeding years have been a downhill slope.

  6. Wow….a good topic to read about at such an early point in my writing journey!

    Right now…for me…I have written only 200 poems and every single one of them are on my blog! LOL 🙂 They’re not saved or backed up anywhere else. And the only thing I’ve been doing is tagging them with key words, and categorizing them by prompt site where it was posted. And of course they’re posted by date. I have had occasion to go looking for a poem for some reason or another, and I remembered the title or the prompt, so I just used the little search box! Kinda simplistic. Hmmm….maybe I ought to be saving these somewhere else, too? If so, I better do it now before the volume gets too unwieldy!


    • There are ways you can use keywords with your computer documents, too. Never tried, but it’s there. (on the mac, click File>Show Properties)

  7. I’m a total mess. I have a doc called “Poetic Bloomings” and a doc called “Poetic Asides,” which each hold the poems for this year’s prompts, with the newest one first, at the top, by date. If I use a poem for something else, and needed to create a word doc for it alone, I have it in a folder just called “Poems,” labeled under the title. November and April poem-a-day challenges get their own documents, labeled by year. Seems all organized, until I actually try to go and find something. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to throw a key word in the search feature to find a poem.

    Some great ideas here, and I’d love to think I will implement some of them. But I know I won’t. I am eternal creative chaos, personified. Which is probably why I so rarely send anything out, anywhere, for actual publication. Too much work. 😉

Comments are closed.