Yesterday and today I spent some more time sketching out the structure of my collection. I started by trying to figure out which poems I wanted as the first and last of the manuscript, which turned out to be easier than I'd anticipated. Both are poems I like a lot and they just seemed to make sense in those positions.
After that I began looking through the remaining poems that I'd triaged for further edits, thinking about where I wanted each one to fit in. I printed them all out and put them in piles on the coffee table. This was hardly a sophisticated or especially careful process; I just went with my gut reaction of whether each one should be towards the beginning, the end or the middle. Ultimately I realized that I'd begun ordering them into four different groups, so perhaps "beginning, middle 1, middle 2 and end" is more accurate. (I meant to take a picture, as this is one of the few occasions where a photo could benefit a writing blog, but couldn't be bothered. Sorry -- I realize I am lame.)
Anyway, I did not make any effort to pay much attention to the specific order of the poems within those piles, though I did make a mental note when I discovered one that seemed to hold promise as the first or last of a section. Now that I've got them into these smaller groupings, I've started to go through each one and think about what makes the most sense in terms of the internal progression, and identify any holes. Much to my amazement, it's gradually coming into shape.