No, no, and no.:laugh I would say that selling the poet the published anthology is their
If you haven't been there before, go visit www.poetry.com
. They have a lot of resources and run a poetry contest. They choose a couple of hundred poems a year (out of the thousands they receive) to put in an anthology. If you are chosen as a semifinalist, you are included in the anthology. They do have a secondary agenda of selling the poet the published book, but you aren't required to purchase it to be included. Because its a collective work, you also retain the right to your poem. It could be a good starting point
Poetry Ghastly, Published Fastly
by John Woestendiek
The Philadelphia Inquirer
To help you further understand what the National Library of Poetry is all about, let me tell you what else [in addition to the opportunity to purchase their poetry anthology] I've been offered in the last year (and also take this opportunity to apologize to my mail carrier):
My poem mounted on a walnut-finish plaque ($38), read by a professional reader on cassette tape ($29.95), and printed on laminated wallet-sized cards (96 for $49.95); an invitation to join the International Society of Poets, also located in Owings Mills, Md., and attend its annual convention ($595); election into the International Poetry Hall of Fame, and a permanent John Woestendiek Poetry Exhibit in their World Wide Web museum ($189); an application for an International Society of Poets Master Card; and a letter from a music production company saying they had read my first poem and thought it should be set to music -- either rock, soul, country, gospel or folk -- and offering to do that and send me five copies of the cassette ($299).
The total comes to well over a thousand dollars.
Here's what the good folks at WockyJivvy tried in order to reveal the lie behind the supposed "contest" they've got going on at poetry.com. :laugh :laugh
Would-be poets and scam artists
BY Allan R. Andrews,
Editor, Pacific Stars and Stripes
Jenijoy LaBelle is professor of literature at Caltech and a critic of modern poetry. In order to read Prof. La Belle's gripe about the scam artists I've described, one would have to subscribe to the Chronicle, the newspaper of The Associated Writers Program. I doubt many readers of this column have seen that publication, so I'll summarize the professor's investigation.
I hope this will alert many sincere and devoted amateur poets to hang on to their money and share their writings with trusted friends, mentors and established and reputable publications.
Prof. LaBelle conducted a test stimulated by an ad for a poetry contest. I've seen this ad in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly. ``New Poetry Contest $48,000.00 in Prizes,'' the headline of the ad screams.
The ad explains that ``The National Library of Poetry to award 250 total prizes to amateur poets in coming months.''
Suspicious, Prof. La Belle talked three friends into submitting entries to one of The National Library's contests. Her first friend submitted a patchwork poem comprised of random sayings collected from Chinese fortune cookies. A second friend copied a lyric poem of Emily Dickinson's and en--tered it in the contest under her own name. The third friend wrote an original piece of irrational doggerel about female breasts.
All three of Prof. LaBelle's friends were notified that they were semi-finalists in the contest and that they should be ``genuinely proud of this accomplishment'' because they were possessed of ``a rare talent.''
By now you see how the bait and the vanity have been hooked. The next step, like one lifted from ``The Sting,'' is to get the ``poet'' to part with his or her money.
``We wish to publish your poem in a forthcoming anthology,'' Prof. LaBelle's friends were informed. To have a copy of this book, entitled, ``Sparkles in the Sand,'' the winners were urged to send in $49.95, plus $4 for postage and handling.
For an additional $20, the publishers would add a short biographical note about the poet. This note was allegedly designed to bring the writers to the attention of the media and the public.
Later, these ersatz poets were offered a chance to have their poems mounted under Lucite on a walnut plaque, an offer costing $38. Furthermore, they could have their poems recorded on a cassette tape for $29.95.
The tape, according to The National Library of Poetry, would feature a well-known narrator and baroque music accompaniment.
LaBelle' friends were offered a chance to join the International Society of Poets, with a membership fee of $125. Each one was notified he or she had been nominated as ``Poet of the Year,'' and could attend an induction ceremony in Washington, D.C., for a convention fee of $495, plus travel and hotel
``Whoever sends in some lame lines becomes a semi-finalist,'' LaBelle notes. From that point on, the scam is on.
The published anthologies, according to the literature professor, are ``jumbles of trivial or downright bad verse.''
Vanity and gullibility, LaBelle concludes, allow this operation to exploit would-be poets for its own greed and profit.
``Maybe nothing illegal is going on,'' LaBelle writes, ``but something unethical as well as unpoetical certainly is.''
And our vanity, this little test shows, can be costly when plied by a scam artist.
This poem was an attempt to write something so dreadful that the National Library of Poetry would not select it as a semi-finalist. Unfortunately, it was selected and the author thereby given the opportunity to purchase an anthology which would include this work.
"My Cat Has Fleas"
-Claire A. Amundsen Schaeffer
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.
"Nicky Nacky Noo"
- Stephen Abutlol
Tum tum tum de tum
This is apoem I sings a lot
to make me very vary hapy.
I fink it will look good on a poster two.
and a cofey mug to shows my frineds
at work so they no i am an internashunal
poet who mite even winz a prise!
Then i wuld be vary famus
and hav lotz of muney
wich wuld be vary funny
coz some of them sayd I was
eliterite wich sucks
(I hopes I can say sucks, if not
please put a defferent word instead.)
and also I just sore the poem
has to be 20 lines long so
I am counting the lynes again.
This is line nienteen
and this in number twenty. Thanx. The End
Poetry.com found the artistic vision of "Nicky Nacky Noo" well suited to their anthology, A Palette of Life...