This MWE throws an error:


\centerpoemon{In the cavern}
In the cavern\\
In the canyon\\!


Command \c@poemline already defined. \newcounter{poemline}


2 Answers 2


memoir evidentally defines a counter poemline, but poetry also does. I don't use memoir, so I didn't catch this as a potential conflict.

memoir is a common class that should certainly be accommodated; but pending a permanent solution, consider doing the following before loading poetry:


This should prevent the error and allow poetry to operate normally. I will upload an actual fix shortly, but this should do the trick for now.

EDIT: I just uploaded a fix, which avoids the conflict with memoir.

  • Note that you should place those two lines before loading the poetry package. Moreover, I don't know if using the savesym package to save counters instead of symbols is adequate.
    – NVaughan
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 16:33
  • @dgoodmaniii Have you pushed it into TL 2018 as well?
    – SuperAl
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 17:49
  • @SuperAl Only the current year of TL will reflect changes pushed to CTAN. If you are using an older version you will need to download the new version yourself and install it in your local texmf folder.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 15:23
  • @AlanMunn Why can it not be pushed into the previous versions of TL? Some of us are stuck with them due to being on older OSs and it is very onerous to upgrade.
    – SuperAl
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 15:36
  • 1
    Does the workaround I posted not work for you? In any case, CTAN is a huge undertaking (as is TeXLive), and it's amazing that everything there works as well as it does. I received notice about the update I just pushed today; I'd expect an announcement soon. The CTAN volunteers deserve our understanding and, most of all, our support. Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 0:18

I use the memoir class, which can typeset poetry with the verse environment:

\settowidth{\versewidth}{In the cavern}
In the cavern\\
In the canyon\\!

Which renders:

enter image description here

Memoir's \settowidth{\versewidth}{In the cavern} command and the [\versewidth] argument amount to the \centerpoem{In the cavern} command of the poem package. (It might appear that you need more instructions with the memoir class to attain the same results as with the poem package; however, the difference mainly concerns the defaults: default line numbering frequency, line numbering position, etc.)

(See the memoir documentation, Ch. 14, for detailed instructions on how to typeset and tweak poetry text.)

In any event, better not use memoir with the poetry package.

  • 1
    You might want to delete this answer as the question was not about alternatives to poetry which we are aware of.
    – SuperAl
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 17:43
  • 3
    @SuperAl I will not---his example uses memoir and my answer replicates the desired result.
    – NVaughan
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 0:51
  • @SuperAl Alternative method answers are often appropriate anyway, but in this case since you are using a class with built in methods for setting poetry the answer is entirely appropriate.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 15:09
  • @AlanMunn I am actually using verse and have been for quite many years, as it provides necessary extensions over memoir. But verse does not provide list of poems which poetry provides and my question was an attempt to follow up on another question which I posted as a comment here tex.stackexchange.com/a/515724/201502
    – SuperAl
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 15:35
  • 2
    @SuperAl You misspeak. The memoir version of verse provides much more than the standard environment. It does provide facilities for putting poem titles into the ToC (even if you don't like the way it does it) and it also shows how to produce an index of first lines. Perhaps poetry does both of these but I don't use it. Good on you @NVaughan. Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 18:55

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