MD Kerr


Turquoise badge: Iím 
making my poems #FreeForPoets to write hybrid poemsI'm celebrating a year of freeing my poems by making them copyright-free for other poets to play with, and I'd love to get lots more poets joining in, so we can all play with each other's.

Copyright-free for hybrid poems

Lots of wonderful poetry forms involve riffing off another poet's work – but copyright law means it's hard to play with anything contemporary. So...

I'm giving copyright permission for poets writing glosas, coupling poems, golden shovels, acrostics, centos, or erasures to use any of the poems on this site, with just these conditions:

  • It's for one of the forms listed above (ie not just to reproduce)
  • You credit which part comes from my poem
  • If you put it online, you also link to the original poem on my site

That's it: fill yer boots! I'd love to know what you write, so do drop me a line on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram if you can. Also, if there's another hybrid form I haven't thought of, email me or tweet me.

Join in & share your poetry

I'd love to get more poets joining in, so we can all play with each other's words. If you'd also like to make your poems available for hybrid forms, here's how.

How to join in:

  • Copy the permission in the box above and put in on your website / online home. Feel free to adapt it, eg adding / removing forms, making it only for certain poems, etc – whatever you're happy with.

Optional, to help people find you:

  • let me know on email, Twitter or Facebook, so I can share your site below and retweet / repost it
  • use the hashtag #FreeForPoets on social media
  • grab a colourful little badge from below for your website / social media – there's a fresh colour coming each day this week. (If you want a particular colour for your site, let me know; as you can tell, I love Photoshop!)
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Browse poems to play with

You can browse my collections of poems below. As other people join in, I'll add their links here too.

Copyright primer

People are often confused about copyright, so here's the wee primer I give my students – because there's nothing worse than writing a massive glosa then discovering it can't leave your drawer for years.

In the UK, copyright is automatic; you don't have to register or publish your work to copyright it. Copyright expires 70 years after the author's death (or after its first publication, if that's later). Some common misconceptions about copyright are...

"It's okay if I use less than 5%." This comes from the rules given to schools, universities, etc, about how much they're allowed to copy for their students, once they've already paid their fee to the Copyright Licensing Agency. (These are Good People. They're on our side and if you've had anything published, you can claim some of that copyright-fee money via ALCS. Sign up!) It only applies for educational institutions who've paid their fee.

"It's okay if it's a very short quote." Copyright isn't based on length, but how unique something is. So "Would you like a cup of tea?" can't be copyright; that's not very unique. "A thing with feathers" is shorter but instantly recognisable, so that would be copyright (except that Emily Dickinson's been dead long enough). Most lines of poetry are going to be unique. Anything worth quoting is, really.

"It's already in the public domain." "In the public domain" means "It's already out of copyright" (ie the author's been dead more than 70 years). It doesn't mean "It's freely available on the internet". Another site might have permission to use it, but that doesn't mean you do. Or another site might be breaking copyright law.


Turquoise badge: Iím 
making my poems #FreeForPoets to write hybrid poemsAll my poems on this site are now #FreeForPoets to play with, to write hybrid forms such as glosas, coupling poems, golden shovels, acrostics, centos, and erasures. Full permissions here: #FreeForPoets.