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LaTeX footnote and pagination routines by default allow long or multiple footnotes for a given page to spill-over to following page(s) of the text. But the interaction of the pagination and notes routines ensures that within a page or so the first note related to the text on the current page again appears at the head of the body of footnotes.

How can I alter this behaviour to reproduce a format for lengthy (footnoted) annotations of verse that permits the spill-over of notes to the following page(s) but halts the flow of the main text until the current footnotes are exhausted?

This eccentric layout can be seen here in a book now decades out of print. The layout relies on a fixed proportion between the text area and footnote area with a rule marking this division on every page.

I have tried using the Geometry package to fix text height and I've read the 2011 TeXLive documentation for e.g. Poemscol and Ledmac packages, each of which caters for a variety of footnotes in a verse environment without finding a solution.

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Very interesting question. Strangely, I think this might me easier (if at all doable) with plain TeX, since its output routine is smaller and simpler, and it seems that you'd have to work on a rather low level to achieve this. Alternatively, you might want to see if LuaTeX is capable of doing that (and most probably it is). – mbork Aug 6 '11 at 23:13
One solution which comes to my mind could be something like this: redefine the \footnote macro to put its argument to an external file (together with some reasonable preamble and some kind of markup), then process this second file by pdflatex seperately, and finally use pdfpages in a third file to include the relevant pages from the first two. (Of course, this could be automated in some kind of script.) Of course, the tricky part would be to synchronize the pages, but I think this could be done. – mbork Aug 6 '11 at 23:21
Hmm.... LuaTeX. It looks difficult. But, assuming I could get it to work, doesn't that also restrict things you can do with e.g. fonts in PDF output? I think you may be right that plain TeX would be more flexible. – Peter W Gallagher Aug 7 '11 at 2:21
@Peter, how do you decide what proportion of the page should be occupied by footnotes? – Bruno Le Floch Aug 8 '11 at 12:40

I made it work, but in a way that might be considered a hack. You basically want a fixed column, where the verses go and a fixed column where the annotations go. Just that the columns are really rows. So I took the usual \marginpar and turned everything 90 degrees. Then, the margin column becomes a footnote row. I did not manage to turn the pdf output back in LaTeX, but i a sure there will be a way.

It needs some work, but generally does what is required and is pretty short with many ways to improve the macros and the page layout.

You might want to have a look at the pdf output (rotated afterwards, your viewer might or might not show it correctly)


\usepackage[paperwidth=297mm, paperheight=210mm, left=20mm, top=20mm, textwidth=170mm, marginparsep=20mm, marginparwidth=67mm, textheight=170mm, footskip=20mm]{geometry}




\verses{Oh! ye, who make the fortunes of all books!\\
      Benign Ceruleans of the second sex!\\
    Who advertise new poems by your looks,\\
      Your "Imprimatur" will ye not annex?\\
    What! must I go to the oblivious cooks,(eo)\\
      Those Cornish plunderers of Parnassian wrecks?\\
    Ah! must I then the only minstrel be,\\
    Proscribed from tasting your Castalian tea!(263)\\
[263] Compare--\\
"I leave them to their daily 'tea is ready,'\\
Snug coterie, and literary lady."\\
Beppo, stanza lxxvi. lines 7, 8, Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 184,\\
\verses{What! can I prove "a lion" then no more?\\
      A ball-room bard, a foolscap, hot-press darling?\\
    To bear the compliments of many a bore,\\
      And sigh, "I can't get out," like Yorick's starling;(264)\\
    Why then I'll swear, as poet Wordy swore\\
      (Because the world won't read him, always snarling),\\
    That Taste is gone, that Fame is but a lottery,\\
    Drawn by the blue-coat misses of a coterie.(265)\\
(264) The caged starling, by its repeated cry, "I can't get out! I\\
can't get out!" cured Yorick of his sentimental yearnings for\\
imprisonment in the Bastille. See Sterne's Sentimental Journey, ed.\\
1804, pp. 100-106.\\
(265) In his Essay...\\}
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