please contact my agent

Whale Sound: Dear Poet X – I am writing to ask your permission to interpret your poems ‘X’ and ‘Y’, publicly available at links Z and Q, for the audio anthology I am building at Whale Sound.

Poet X: Please contact my agent, who handles all these types of requests.

Whale Sound: Dear Poet X’s Agent, I have been referred to you by Poet X re: the request below. Would you let me know if this might work?

Poet X’s Agent: Dear Whale Sound – Are you able to pay for this permission? I can give you information regarding a fee for a grant of online audio rights if you are.

Whale Sound: Many thanks for getting back to me. No – this whole project is just gratis pro-poetry stuff. I am not paying or receiving payment for anything associated with it. Does this mean I can’t use the poems?

Poet X’s Agent: Unfortunately, Poet X is uncomfortable with the idea of their poetry appearing online in audio form. Thank you nevertheless for your query and good luck with your anthology.

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13 thoughts on “please contact my agent

  1. That kind of attitude saddens me profoundly. Someone kindly explain to me how it’s good for poetry (as distinct from poetry business).

  2. I am sighing, like Sherry above!

    I had very good luck recently, and an easy time, contacting a poet’s publisher for permission to reprint poems in an online format…so I do hope your bad experience here turns out to be rare, Nic. What you’re doing is so wonderful and exciting!

    Oh! Once I got hired to be a poet in a video thing because the big name poet would have cost $5000! I got paid $200, a really, really good day’s work!! I worked as an actor then, mostly for nothing, fitting in freelance encyclopedia writing and fiction writing, mostly for piddling amounts…and nothing. Sigh….

    Ah, this started by sighing!

  3. Well, agents bring in a wage packet from granting rights etc. They get a percentage. They’re not necessarily interested in the poetry, so much as selling it. There’s nothing it it for them by granting the rights for free, so they won’t do it. Basically, if a writer asks you to go through his/her agent, you may as well forget it unless you’re prepared to pay.

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