What is Poets.org? The official website of Academy of American Poets, Poets.org offers hundreds of essays and interviews, audio clips, as well as biographies of more than 500 poets and over 2000 poems. You can also learn all about the Academy and its programs, find local poetry resources on the National Poetry Map and Calendar, and much more. Each month, Poets.org receives a million unique visitors, making it one of the largest and most popular poetry site on the internet.
When did Poets.org begin? In 1993, in the early days of the web—before Amazon, eBay, Google, or Yahoo even existed, the Academy of American Poets made its online debut with a modest website brochure. Two years later, in 1995, the site was expanded to include poems, biographies, quizzes, and discussion forums. The domain Poets.org was registered by the Academy in 1996 and the first version of the current site was launched.
Do I need permission to link to Poets.org? You may link to any page on Poets.org that you wish. We appreciate and encourage your willingness to help share and promote the site. However, please do not enclose any of our pages in HTML frames. You may use the following convenient text link: <a href="http://www.poets.org" target=_blank>Poets.org – Poetry, Poems, Bios and More</a> or write your own.
Will Poets.org link to my website? We are very selective about the links on our site. We carefully choose only attractive, informative, and poetry-rich sites that we believe will enhance our users knowledge and experience of poetry. We occasionally add new links, only as appropriate, to Poet Pages and the National Poetry Map.
How are authors chosen for profiles on Poets.org? Additions to our poet pages are based on committee decisions by our editorial board, often with input from our chancellors. We regularly add new authors to the site; however, due to limitations in funding and staff time, the number of poets we would like to add always outstrips the number we are actually able to add. There are many fine and deserving poets that are not yet included on our site. While we have over 1,000 poets on our site, we have hundreds of poets we would like to add, many of whom have won awards from the Academy of American Poets, or participated in the Academy's programs, dating back to 1934.
The poets featured on our site are selected according to three primary criteria:
- To create a representative selection illustrating the history of poetry in America.
- To provide background information in support of the Academy's other programs.
- To provide resources on those poets who are most often researched online and taught in classrooms—as determined based on requests from our site's visitors, poetry-related surveys, and statistics garnered through analysis of search patterns and traffic on our website.
Will you add new poems by authors already featured on the site? In some cases, yes. We try to offer a sample of three to six poems for each author. Many of our most popular pages, however, already include as many as fifteen poems, and it is unlikely that we will add more selections. Poets.org is not intended to be a substitute for the bookstore or library. In fact, we hope that the small samples we offer will encourage visitors to seek offline sources of these works. There's nothing like the pleasure of reading a real book.
Why are there no poems for some authors featured on the site? All of the material on Poets.org is reproduced legally, with the permission of the author or publishing company. In most cases where no poems are featured for an author it is due to reprint restrictions or reprint fees.
Why are some non-American poets featured? We have included many poets who are not American, but whose work has influenced American poets. The web is a worldwide medium, and the audience for this site extends far beyond the United States. While half of the Academy's mission is "to support American poets at all stages of their careers," the other half is "to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry." That second part can be interpreted very broadly, which is just how we like it.
How can I get in touch with a poet featured on Poets.org? The best way is to write to the author in care of whichever publisher issued his or her most recent book. You may also find an author's home or business address in Poets & Writers' free online resource the Directory of Poets & Writers.
Can I have permission to use a photo from Poets.org? In most cases, the photographs on our site are standard publicity shots obtained from the poets' publishers, in which case we do not hold the rights, and can therefore neither grant nor refuse permission.
Can I have permission to use a poem or article from Poets.org? All of the poems on Poets.org that are not in the public domain are protected by copyright law (Title 17 of the U.S. Code). The Academy of American Poets, the publisher of Poets.org, has been given permission for use of the poems by copyright owners, and does not own the poems. Therefore, we do not grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute them, nor do we charge fees. Your use, distribution, or duplication of the poems may require the permission of the copyright owner, who is the publisher or the author. To determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions you may review U.S. copyright law here: http://www.copyright.gov/
How do I cite a page from Poets.org? Who is the author? Unless otherwise noted, the author and publisher of all pages on this site should be cited as "The Academy of American Poets, Inc."
What is the "Poets.org Update"? Poets.org Update is a free e-mail newsletter that celebrates poetry every month with information about new poems, biographies, essays, and audio published on Poets.org, as well as discounts and offers available only to newsletter subscribers. Subscribe to the Poets.org Update.
Can you help me find a poem? Due to the enormous volume of e-mail we receive, we are unable to help visitors search for poems. If you cannot find what you are looking for by using the Advanced Search on our site, you can use a common search engine to research. We recommend Google.com. Try entering a line from the poem or the title in quotation marks; this makes the search engine look for the words in that particular order rather than anywhere in a document, making your search results smaller and more concise. You can also try posting your request in the "Find a Poem" section of our Discussion Forum. If that doesn't work, it can be quite difficult to find a poem without a title or the name of the poet. Your local library may have specific resources to assist you.
Can you explain the meaning of a poem? Sorry, we cannot offer analysis of individual poems. You can find a wealth of resources and basic information on Poets.org that can help you reach a deeper understanding of the poem. Keep in mind, there is no single or correct answer to the meaning of a poem. Trust your own response to the poem. Read it a few times. What does it mean to you? How does it make you feel? What thoughts do the images evoke for you? If you want to go farther with your understanding of the poem, we suggest you learn more about the poet, read more of his or her work, and research critical responses and reviews of the work.