In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Thursday, 2 October 2014

Copyright issues

Interesting exchange with the literary agent in charge of handling the legacy of Siegfried Sassoon's poems. As Sassoon died in the sixties, seventy years have not yet elapsed since his death, therefore anyone using his poems in their creative works, has to pay a levy to his estate.
The first poem I wanted to quote in Peace Lily was called 'Can I forget' - a very moving piece about the feelings of Sassoon, in his role of captain, attending the death of his men when they were in agony. The agent told me, which I found surprising, this poem had never been published and permission could not be granted as a result. And I realised, more importantly perhaps, my characters wouldn't have known of its existence, as it was simply scribbled in one of his wartime journals.
I had to find another poem and chose 'Aftermath'. This is actually more suitable, as the word 'aftermath' is in the strap line on the front cover of Peace Lily and the whole book is about the fall out of the great war on society after its survivors returned home.
However, the charges were steep, so I have selected only one verse to demonstrate someone's intense grief at the loss of two of his sons.
What a time they lived in.
Let's hope we never experience the like again in our lifetimes.

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