During Advent, Christmas gifts are often wrapped. The idea is to have a sense of surprise as well as presentation. The idea of presentation is something that can be applied to poetry.
How a poem is presented can affect how it is received. There are a number of aspects of this.
One aspect, is the poem title. The same poem, with a different title, can come across differently. A poem’s title can affect its tone and what is emphasized for the reader.
Another aspect, is the poem that preceded the poem, if there is one. A poem can be affected by what preceded it. The ideas and emotions of the prior poem can affect how the current poem is read.
A third aspect is the physical presentation of the poem. Is it printed or on a screen? What does the background look like? What colors are used? What fonts are used? How is the poem laid out on the page? If the poem is part of a printed collection, what does that look like? These physical aspects of a poem’s presentation can affect its reception.
A fourth aspect can come into play if the poem is read aloud. Who reads the poem, how they read it, and under what circumstances they read it, can all affect how listeners feel about and interpret a poem.
When developing a poem, a poet should take presentation into account. Just like a gift can be impacted by the box it is in and the wrapping that is used, a poem can be affected by how it is presented. Poets should take some time and think about presentation and develop a presentation that they feel best puts forward their work.