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Aspiring poets, heed my cry, whatever they offer, please don't buy!
Member Name: indychick_uk
Date: 04/12/01, updated on 04/12/01 (1193 review reads)
Advantages: You could get your poem in a published book
Disadvantages: But so could my friends 3-yr old son....., This site is a scam.
Let me start by saying that poetry.com are running a scam.
Plain and simple.
Quite honestly I don’t know that I should say much more but I will, here goes.
Poetry.com, along with poets.com, is the internet face of an organisation called “The International Library of Poetry” , which is associated with “The National Library of Poetry”. Despite it’s pretensions of “National” and even “International” status it is in fact a small company based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. I’ve found countless accounts of dissatisfied and angry people who have been taken in by the scam
On the face of it poetry.com looks like a well organised, well meaning site designed to help the aspiring poet with free competitions and opportunities to be published. The website has several contests – a daily Haiku contest, the $1,000 contest and lots of other features that seem to make the site a real place for aspiring writers to get help and get published, all for free.
Be warned – nothing in this life is free.
Some months ago I submitted one of my one poems to their monthly competition. Imagine my amazement when, several weeks later, I received a letter through the post telling me that my poem had been selected for inclusion in their latest anthology.
“a classic, edition-quality hardbound volume – printed on fine milled paper “
There was absolutely no obligation, I was told, but I could, if I so desired, purchase a copy of this “coffee table book” for the sum of only $40 (I liked the “only”)
It was at this point that I got suspicious. The letter was just worded like one of those “this beautiful carriage clock is yours, absolutely free, all you have to do is sign away your soul on a 30-day trial” letters that you get from private medical insurance companies.
The letter went on to sa
y that, for an extra fee, I could also submit some biographical details to go alongside my poem in the anthology but it also reassured me that my poem would be printed whether or not I decided to purchase the book. Well, why wouldn’t I want a poetry anthology with one of my poems in it?
I decided to do some investigating and my suspicions were confirmed – this is a scam and one that has apparently been going on for years. In 1998 it was featured on ABC tv's news program "20/20" and the scam is still going on.
The National Library of Poetry will basically select anything and everything that is submitted to them and publish it. Oh yes, your poem will be in a beautifully printed anthology but it will be alongside such poems as this one –
My Cat Has Fleas
My cat is chewing on her butt;
It makes me think she is a nut.
I try to drown the fleas in spray;
They jump and shout and just yell "Hey!"
I try to drown the fleas in powder;
they eat it like it's fine clam chowder.
I try to drown the fleas in gas;
that really burned my kitty's ass.
I found this on a website called “WockyJivvy” http://www.wockyjivvy.com/poetry/shame/index.html where they highlight the scam that is the National Library of Poetry by publishing several pieces, such as the one above, which were actually written in an attempt to submit something so dreadful that it wouldn’t be selected for the contest. Needless to say they all were accepted.
The contest also promises big money prizes to anyone winning but I’ve yet to find evidence of anyone actually winning any money. Apparently I may well receive a letter telling me I’ve been nominated as poet of the year and inviting me to travel to the finals in Washington for a convention fee of only $495!
This is the sort of scam that appeals to us on two levels; first it appeals to ou
r desire to make money by offering a cash prize, the poetry.com website currently carries the banner headline “Free Poetry Contest $58,000 in prizes”; secondly it appeals to our vanity, receiving a letter telling us we are “possessed of a rare talent” and the idea of seeing our name in print is enough to persuade many people to part with their cash.
If you want to read any more about this scam then try http://www.windpub.org/literaryscams/ilp.htm where you’ll find plenty of dissatisfied customers.