Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Editing Dad

In the process of launching everything is not funny, a site dedicated to my father's poetry, I've had a lot of interesting experiences. As I am selecting the poems and posting them myself, I've been struck by how much inherent power lies in the hand of an editor. When looking for a poem, there are so many natural biases that reveal themselves. Without being particularly conscious of it, I'm drawn to poems of a certain style, length, attitude and subject matter. After just two months, I can already understand how someone else who was familiar with my father's writing would feel like whole categories of his work were missing. The good news is that nearly all poems will be represented eventually, but I can't deny that I don't plan on including the more personal or person-specific ones.

Another dilemma I've faced is whether to edit the spacing, punctuation, or capitalization of his poems. So far, the decision has been to leave each poem in the state I found it. He was fairly particular about editing and revising his poems again and again, so my instinct is that if something wasn't capitalized, that was his intention.

Of course, the process as a whole has greatly increased my appreciation for his talent and years of effort. I must admit, some of the poems simply blow me away. Hopefully, there will be some like that for many people.