Poetic License is a biting comic-drama about greed, ambition, and madness that grapples with the consequences of a long-forgotten and repressed incident that comes back to haunt a family in an unexpected way. John Grier is an acclaimed poet, comfortably ensconced as a professor of literature in a hallowed university and owes much of his success to his wife, Diane, who has been aggressively shepherding his career. Diane is the one practical individual in the family and knows that there is little cache associated with being a poet in American society. She has made it her mission to market her husband while at the same time fortifying herself with booze and a caustic façade to survive the challenges of being the wife of a high-profile academic.
On the weekend when the next Poet Laureate of the United States is about to be announced, their daughter, Katharine, returns from college and surprises Diane and John with her new boyfriend, Edmund. Both are aspiring young writers in awe of John and his literary accomplishments. Katharine has worshiped her father since childhood seeking his approval for her fledgling attempts at writing and Edmund is a graduate student who has studied John's works providing veiled compliments when he is first introduced.
Hidden secrets are revealed in the course of the play that threaten to disrupt the carefully crafted equilibrium of the family so painstakingly created by Diane over the years. Poetic License is a modern morality play in the tradition of comic-dramas where human foibles and hypocrisies are revealed as long-suppressed truths return to exact their inevitable consequences.