Mary Mary Quite Contrary

portrait of a woman

I was going to use a Mary Oliver poem for my latest grid group, but I discovered that she won’t allow anyone to put her poems online, even on the big poetry websites I usually reference.  They all just list titles and say that the copyright holder (that’s you Ms. Oliver) requested that the poems be removed.

Why?

I’ve never seen that before for any poet I’ve researched, living or dead.  I even plugged in the names of the past 10 U.S. Poet Laureates, including Billy Collins.  No problem:  plenty of poems to see, in many places.

I often buy books based on reading a poet’s work online.  It makes no sense to eliminate your online presence, at least that’s what I think.

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13 responses to “Mary Mary Quite Contrary”

  1. listentothebabe says :

    beautiful work though. yours not hers.

  2. M.R. Emberson says :

    I like your collage as well, but wasn’t aware of Oliver’s stance. Many of her poems are accessible through the Best Poems Encyclopedia website (http://www.best-poems.net/mary_oliver/index.html). Maybe she’s felt uncomfortable in the past with how some of her poems have been used online. Nevertheless, restricting the use of works online can also limit the possibility of introducing one’s poetry to new readers.

    • memadtwo says :

      That’s a great website…I wasn’t aware of it before, thanks. I was really surprised to encounter the restrictions on several websites I regularly use, as I had never seen it before. I understand that people don’t want their works stolen, but no one was saying the poems were written by someone else. And if any poet alive is making money from their poetry, she and Billy Collins would be the ones I’d choose. Downloading songs is one thing, but a poet, I think, needs all the exposure they can get, just to have readers at all.

      • M.R. Emberson says :

        Yeah, I agree. Poets needs the exposure. The Internet may be the first place someone sees their work. Then, if a person likes it, he or she will probably buy a book. Restricting that exposure seems like a bad move.

  3. Laura (Createarteveryday) says :

    I’ve found her stuff on many sites as well. Hmm, surprised by this. Love your collage work!

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks. I don’t imagine she would sue a blogger, but you never know. Best to be safe!

      • Laura (Createarteveryday) says :

        That’s a bummer. :(((. I’d have never thought she’d be like that. How could it be illegal to post a poem if you credit the author? Argh.

      • memadtwo says :

        I’m not sure about all the legalities, but I would never post a poem I saw on someone’s blog without asking permission. I always thought the well-known ones posted on the large poetry blogs were OK, but now I’m not so sure about that either. I guess it depends on the poet and their publisher…

  4. kirkistan says :

    There’s an interesting debate starting to bubble up from creators of all stripe: painters, writers, poets and others. People opting out of putting their work online. The danger of stealing the work or using it for free must be two of the big pieces creators object to. I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see more of that as time goes on.

    • memadtwo says :

      You’re right, it’s a tough problem to resolve. You want people to see your work, otherwise, why put it out there at all? But the people likely to try to make money off what you do are not people you could afford to take to court. Not too many poets are going to be making money from their poetry anyway(although I bet Mary Oliver does). So as long as someone credits them, I think it’s a win for them. Musicians are another issue though.
      And art? That’s also a tough one. When does referencing someone cross the line? The jury’s out, literally, on that one.

  5. lesliepaints says :

    Regardless, I like this collage with no words……

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