Permission Requested to Use a Poem
Last year, I received an inquiry from a man whose daughter was graduating from high school. The school was putting together a book in which the parents could offer words of congratulations or encouragement or pride or love for their son or daughter. This kind man asked if he could use a part of one of my graduation poems to put in the book. While I had put a short poem for each of my daughters in their graduation books, I confess I was honored and flattered that this man—a total stranger from a thousand miles away—took the time to ask me for permission to use one of my poems to send a message to his daughter in the school’s book. In any event, I quoted him a very small fee and thanked him for asking, and he sent a check for more than I had quoted. He understood that copyrights mean something, and that writers should not work for free, unless they volunteer to do so. Perhaps I would never have known that he used it, but I was very grateful and gratified to know that he contacted me to ask permission.
All writers need exposure and we appreciate it when our work is put out into the world, but no one wants to be taken advantage of either. Writing is an art, and it is work, and no one should be expected to give it away, and certainly should not be expected to give it away without being asked.
In any event, the kind man showed me that there are people who appreciate what I do, and I appreciated very much his act of contacting me for permission.
If you would like to use one of the poems on this site as part of a graduation book (or similar dedication book), or as a reading in a wedding or other ceremony, there are two circumstances in which you may do so:
1. You may do so if you have purchased the picture poem from which you chose the text. For example, if you purchased an etched or printed version of “A Thousand Dreams” you may have someone read the poem in your wedding ceremony. (I would love it if you put the actual picture poem in the church for people to read on their way in, but I would not insist upon that.) I also ask that you give author credit, meaning your reader says that I wrote it.
2. You may use the poem for a dedication book or as a reading in a ceremony even without the purchase of a picture poem by paying a “User Fee” of $5.00. This is an introductory offer, and it is the same fee that I quoted the man that I talked about above. Author credit is also required in this circumstance. However, if you desire to print a poem on paper items such as napkins or cups or on more permanent materials, please contact me.
Permission to put poems on other printed matter is not granted by this offer, and there will be an additional charge to do so, in part based upon the number of items to be printed, and based upon which poem is requested.
See also Commissioned Poems section on Permission or Allowance to Publish or Use Poems.