On writing and reading series

In a previous post, I said that a series requires that “a piece as an individual is not as successful…as the pieces understood as a whole are successful.”  I realize I could try to elaborate, especially on the vague term “successful.”

What I am trying to say through this term “successful” is a capacity to engage with the reader.  This, of course, can only be talked about abstractly, and I acknowledge that in real life this “success” will vary reader to reader.  But let us assume that the reader is interested in the series’ aesthetic/form/subject matter (thus establishing a parameter of engaging with the poem on its terms—no worries in this scenario that the reader is disinterested).

So with this given, let us say that in a series, the reader is more stimulated by the series as a whole significantly more than the reader is stimulated by one piece of the series.

I also described a series as “a piecemeal poem.”  Each part is much more component than individual.  Not only is it a matter of stimulation of the whole for the reader, but the writer intends for emphasis on the whole.

Certainly a series involves an enduring ambition from the writer and an enduring dedication from the reader.  I am not saying a series requires more ambition than other poems, but that it requires a passion and patience for a big picture—that is its interest.

While both the series and the sequence involve a journey, the series is even more journey oriented: the journey must be completed.  The series is hindsight dependent: what precedes each piece contributes to the next piece.  The series is a cumulative experience.

For more on this subject, please see the previous post Word Choices: “Series” vs. “Sequence” and the subsequent post On writing and reading sequences.

Do you enjoy writing series?

What else would you add about the experience of series?