More Dorothy Parker poetry and short fiction will enter the public domain in the United States on January 1, 2022, than ever before in a single year: 47 poems and five short stories. This is a much higher figure than 2021 when 25 poems had their copyrights expire, or 2020 when the number was only 15 poems and one story.
All of this work is from 1926 and has reached the 95-year mark that ends U.S. copyright protection. The remainder of the work is still under copyright with her estate, which Parker bequeathed to the NAACP.
Of the 47 poems, some are among her most famous and most reprinted. Such as:
Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I’d been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.
They hail you as their morning star
Because you are the way you are.
If you return the sentiment,
They’ll try to make you different;
And once they have you, safe and sound,
They want to change you all around.
Your moods and ways they put a curse on;
They’d make of you another person.
They cannot let you go your gait;
They influence and educate.
They’d alter all that they admired.
They make me sick, they make me tired.
“General Review of the Sex Situation”
Woman wants monogamy;
Man delights in novelty.
Love is woman’s moon and sun;
Man has other forms of fun.
Woman lives but in her lord;
Count to ten, and man is bored.
With this the gist and sum of it,
What earthly good can come of it?
This is the complete list and where they first appeared:
Parker did not publish any short fiction in 1925, so nothing entered the public domain in 2021. However, in 1926, she published five short stories, four of which she gave to her friend, Harold W. Ross, for The New Yorker, which was only one year old. While five stories seems light, she had also published 47 poems. It also will overshadow 1927, when Parker published four short stories. These are the stories that will enter the public domain on January 1, 2022, along with where the stories first appeared in print.
Other Works Enter Public Domain in the U.S.
American Copyright Law will also see many other works in film, music, and visual art enter the public domain. Some samples from 1926 creation:
Buster Keaton, The General;
W.C. Fields and Louise Brooks, It’s the Old Army Game;
The Son of the Sheik, final film of Rudolph Valentino.
“Someone To Watch Over Me” — writer Ira Gershwin, music George Gershwin;
“Baby Face” — writer Benny Davis, music Harry Akst;
“Blue Skies” — words & music by Irving Berlin, from the Broadway musical Betsy. Written to commemorate the birth of Berlin’s first born, Mary Ellin Barrett.
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
The World of Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie-the-Pooh, #1-2), A.A. Milne
Oil! Upton Sinclair
January 1 is called “Public Domain Day” by many; in 2022 Dorothy Parker fans have many reasons to celebrate the day.
Thanks to Stuart Y. Silverstein, editor of Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker, for creating a comprehensive chronological list of poems.