I'm trying to compose a volume of poetry in the memoir class and the verse environment. To set the indent on a per-poem basis, I use

\settowidth{\versewidth}{longest line of text here}

as described in the manuals.

When a poem is longer than fits on one page, the indentation differs on that second page from the indentation on the first one. Below is an example of what I mean. Any hints what I might do to prevent this behavior, i. e. to have the text on the second page indented exactly as much as the beginning of the text?


% This was suggested as solution, but creates new problems:
% The first text in this example (with somewhat longer lines) doesn't 
% break lines correctly anymore after you activate the following line






\chapter[Chapter One][Chapter One]{Chapter One}

\settowidth{\versewidth}{terrorism. Schools like mine are increasingly}
   The call for global solutions to\\
   global problems has become a familiar\\
   refrain: If only we could see past our petty\\
   national interests\\
   we could come together to solve everything\\
   from climate change to poverty to\\
   terrorism. Schools like mine are increasingly\\
   being called upon to educate “global\\
   citizens” who belong to the world rather\\
   than to their nation of birth or\\
   state of\\
\attrib{(Washington, 8.12.2013)}


\settowidth{\versewidth}{labore et dolore magna aliquyam}
\leftpoemtitle{Lorem Ipsum}
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\\
consetetur sadipscing elitr,\\
sed diam nonumy\\
eirmod tempor invidunt\\
ut labore et dolore magna\\
aliquyam erat, sed diam\\
\vin At vero eos\\
\vin et accusam et justo\\
duo dolores et ea rebum.\\
Stet clita kasd gubergren,\\
no sea takimata sanctus est\\
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.\\
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet,\\
consetetur sadipscing elitr,\\
sed diam nonumy\\
eirmod tempor\\
invidunt ut\\
labore et dolore magna aliquyam\\
erat, sed diam voluptua.\\
At vero eos et\\
accusam et justo duo dolores\\
et ea rebum.\\
Stet clita kasd\\
no sea takimata sanctus\\
Lorem ipsum\\
dolor sit amet.\\
\attrib{(There, then)}

  • The downvote seems rather unfair. Particularly since no explanation was given. – A.Ellett Dec 8 '13 at 15:44
  • At some point, the width of a poem's line may exceed the width of printable text area. I set the margins in my solution to 1.75in (rather extreme). Perhaps a smaller margin is more appropriate. – A.Ellett Dec 8 '13 at 17:07

It's not realy the indentation that's changing. What's happening is that memoir is using different widths for the left and right hand margins of your page. I might suggest using the geometry package to change this.

You can use


to set the margins to 1.75in all around.

But also, I'm not very familiar with the memoir class. Perhaps there's a better way to change the margins natively within memoir. Let's hope someone better than I at memoir provides that answer.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks. Unfortunately, the solution you suggested causes errors all over my original document - apparently in every place where a line is longer than a certain width. But the hint you gave, that not the indentation, but the page width might be the problem, may well help me in finding a solution on the web. – Mark Dec 8 '13 at 16:06
  • @Mark Perhaps if you provided a bit longer snippet illustrating this further issue (or asked a second question), we could help you even better. – A.Ellett Dec 8 '13 at 16:08
  • Have to write it as answer to be able to use markup... – Mark Dec 8 '13 at 16:23

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