by Francesca Marais

“This process was eye opening and self-expository, but it was powerful.”

What she wanted:

A beautiful book she could print, hold, and share with the world

What she had:

Finished poems sitting in MS Word

What we did

Arrangement suggestions
Critique and critique letter
Platform selection support
3 rounds of proofreading
Marketing support
ISBN acquisition
One printed proof copy (and one for us!)
Pricing support
Reading series feature (!!!)
Back cover design

"I feel more comfortable having to speak about what I wrote..."

Francesca first came to Tell Tell through our Hone Your Craft  course, and after the course ended, she connected about getting support for her first poetry collection, Emerge. We read through her work and we were hooked immediately.

Her work was beautiful and luscious, but it lacked a clear arrangement, so we began our work by digging in and discovering a new arrangement. Her work moves from nostalgia to the unraveling of a romantic relationship, and we wanted to find a way to connect those broad strokes with the second half of the collection in order to create a satisfying conclusion.

From love to surprise...

Once she loved the order, we looked at each poem and explored how the poems were working with the landscape of the collection. Where can the phrases better match the body of images shared across the work? How can line breaks be used to change the reader’s experience? Where might a pause give the reader an opportunity to be surprised? We put it all together and sent it over to Francesca for review.

And she spent time sitting with those ideas while we played with the images that would eventually become her cover. We also worked a bit on her blurb:

From the crushing comfort of the womb-dark ocean, the poems in Francesca Marais’s Emerge rise to the surface and breathe deeply. “Blood surges through my body, / Refusing to gently creep into the shores / Of my heart’s quiet,” she says. Untangling the tentacles of family and romance and imagination, the poet carries the reader along on a journey toward self-love and acceptance. Her advice to us? “Cherish then savour / The salt of the pain, / Lick your fingers dry.” Salt of tears, of stinging wounds, of breaking waves—to know the self requires all of these. There is ache here, but also nourishment. Emerge shows us how to stop holding our breath, how to see our own reflection in the ocean’s blue eyes.

Using poetry to become more confident...

This process was more than a transformation from poetry pages to a finished book; Francesca actually transformed throughout the process and began to feel more confident about her own work.

“I feel more comfortable having to speak about what I wrote, why I wrote it, and the story that I’m telling. This forced me to sit with my experiences, and seeing the work improve through this process gave me confidence in my writing.”

Holding it in her hands . . .

Holding the book in her hands was a powerful experience for Francesca. She had been waiting for this for a long time, and to have something she could hold and share—that is what she always wanted.

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