Poem of the Week
Founded August 1996
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This Week's Poem

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The Poem of the Week is an ongoing anthology of poetry. It was founded in August of 1996, and moved to its own domain, PotW.org, in September of 1999. The Mission of the Poem of the Week is to increase the appreciation of the variety of poetry in the English language, to provide a resource for educators at large, and as ongoing research of the site editor. It is intended to explore the entire breadth of the art form. As such, only a few poems are used from any single poet, and references are provided so that the reader can further pursue those poets whose work is of special interest. The Poem of the Week generates no revenues or profits of any sort and collects no fees for any of the services it provides.

The page has a total Privacy policy. Page traffic is monitored only to the extent of counting the number of hits and noting the referring site. Through 2011, the site used an e-mail list to distribute poetry to over 2,000 subscribers, including a large number from a separate poem of the week run by Robert Faludi from 1996 to 1999. (We hope to do justice to his mission to "put great works of poetry in as many In boxes as possible."). The previously used e-mail list has been deleted, and beginning in 2018 the poems will instead be distributed through facebook facebook.com/Potw.org and Twitter twitter.com/Potw_Org.

Many poems appearing on the Poem of the Week are marked as being protected by copyright. All such poems should not be printed out or stored in any permanent form without permission of the copyright holder. Should a more permanent form be desired, a reference is provided so that a book containing that poem may be purchased or checked out at a local library. To the best of our knowledge any poem not marked as being copyright protected is public domain; in particular it was published 1922 or before, is 95 years since the date of first publication if originally published between 1923 and 1977, or is 70 years past the life of the author if created 1978 or later. Any errors with respect to copyright attribution are inadvertent and should be brought to the attention of the site editor immediately. All copyrighted poems appearing in the Poem of the Week archive appear there by permission.1

Prior to 2011, in order to make the list representative of the entire breadth of poetry, copyright protected poems were used as the weekly selection (but not archived) in accordance with our interpretation of the fair use guidelines.

  • Purpose: The use of the poem is entirely non-commercial with educational intent.
  • Brevity: The poem is less than 250 words in length and appears on the web page for a timespan covering fifteen days or less.
  • Spontaneity: The selection of the poems occurs in the weeks immediately preceeding its use. This short timespan precludes the attainment of permission in a timely manner.
  • Cumulative Effect: The poem is the only one by that poet appearing in the previous four months. It is one of no more than nine copyright protected poems used in the previous four months. 2 The poem is one of no more than three total poems by the poet used in this manner total.
  • Effect on Market: The selected poem appears for a timespan not to exceed fifteen days. All selected poems have previously appeared in print and are readily available for purchase or through various public libraries. Reference is provided to aid the reader in locating such a copy.

By following these guidelines for the weekly selections it was our intention to keep to the spirit of the United States copyright laws, and we believe we have done so. However, the final arbiter of fair use doctrine seems to be the courts and we are not aware of any cases which definitively show whether or not we are correct in our beliefs on this matter. As such we make no guarantee that our interpretation of fair use is correct, and any use of our interpretation of the guidelines is made at your own risk.

PotW.org, and all original content on that domain's associated web pages, including the list of poems selected for the Poem of the Week, are © 1996-2011 Brian Habing. All poems contained within this domain are either © as noted or, to the best of our knowledge, are public domain. No guarantees are given regarding the accuracy of any of the content contained herein. However, if any errors or discrepencies are noticed, please notify the site editor immediately.

1 The one exception is the Titanic folk song where the lyrics from a copyrighted source are given in the context of an article discussing the origins and variations of the song.
2 We sincerely apologize for overusing copyright protected poems on a few occasions before the year 2000.