Facts and Opinions About Poetry.com
edited: Friday, September 30, 2005
By Patrice Lauren
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Posted: Thursday, August 18, 2005
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Facts and Opinions
If you write poetry, you probably have heard about Poetry.com. From friends who want you to be recognized for the talent they see in your work, to those infernal pop-up ads, it seems that many people have had some kind of experience with the International Library of Poetry, and Howard Ely, Managing Editor.
This article is neither to promote nor discredit Poetry.com. I am searching for your input to help me make a decision. If you have had contact with them, I would like to have contact with you.
I am in the process of deciding to sign up to attend their convention this year. I received an official invitation from them on the Internet, and in the US mail. I've gotten invitations before, and been thrilled at the thought of going each time. Poetry.com is the first place I had any poetry published.
A couple of years ago I put a deposit down, wasn't able to go, and did get my $75.00 back. This time I'm trying to get myself there for real. Maybe there's a reality TV show in this somewhere. Everything is so reality now. What is reality anyhow?
At any rate, I've already paid a $75.00 deposit for the convention (full price to be paid by mid February is $595.00), purchased a round trip plane ticket, and am counting up the savings account, an extra part-time job, something to see how I could possibly have enought money to stay at the resort for the "special promotional International Society of Poets rate" of $183.00 per night.
The convention brochure tells of coffee house rap sessions, awards for poetry (possibly based on oral presentation--Can I do "Def Poetry"?), engraved loving cups for poetic achievement, banquets with dancing at midnight, and the grand prize of $20,000.00 cash. It sounds like a good time, especially if you are chosen as a winner. There are also two cruise vacations and 20 publishing contracts up for grabs--10 recording contracts and 10 publishing contracts with Water Mark Press. You even get door prizes for showing up. But you have to pay a lot of money, just to show up.
I have entered the Poetry.com contests on the Internet, and received an "Editor's Choice Award" of the month from Howard Ely, Managing Editor. Also, I have been published in the International Society of Poetry's anthologies and CDs more than once. Each publication has been what I consider a very expensive purchase, for a book that is not distributed to bookstores for sale.
If Vanity Press means you pay lots of money to get your name and work in print, AND have a copy of it, I am indeed one who has fallen into the pit of vanity and can't seem to get out.
I am vain. I am not Warren Beatty (Carly Simon was singing that song about him, supposedly). But, I would like to think I have some talent. I have the receipts to prove. . . something. . . sort of. Actually, I am not SURE of anything.
The only thing I know is that everything about Poetry.com costs a lot of money.
All my qualms aside, I am very interested in hearing of other people's experience with Poetry.com: letters, invitations, awards received, conventions, and information about poetry conventions in general. Some of what I've heard about Poetry.com has not been positive.
I haven't made it to a Writing.com convention yet, but I hope to soon. At a Writing.com convention, I would expect to meet some people I already know, and even more writers on the site, with whom I can share the experience afterward. I think a Writing.com convention may be organized very differently from the FamousPoets.com convention I attended in Reno in September of 2004. That was my first convention experience, and am proud of my Shakespeare bust that says "Trophy of Excellence, Patrice Lauren, Famous Poet for 2004. The convention, travel, etc. was very expensive, a but an interesting weekend of people and poetry.
I had a nice room. There were lots of people in lots of different rooms throughout the Labor Day Weekend. We read our poems to each other in groups of 30-50 people. We talked in the elevators having personal conversations where you find out the things you have in common with poets from around the globe. I had several elevator friends. There were people you'd keep seeing and you'd smile at each other. I lost their names and numbers, and they've lost mine too by now, but it was a good time.
We listened to speakers. We received "stuff," and memories of a poetry convention weekend. It was fun, but I was looking for a publishing company, an agent, an editor--if they were there I couldn't find them.
I missed getting Leslie Nielsen's autograph by two minutes. Darn! His reading of "The Raven" was something I'll never forget. Yes, he was wearing a tuxedo. People were dressed formally for the final evening of entertainment. The dinner was a gala ball (without dancing), but less grand than an inaugural ball. Evening gowns were everywhere Saturday night. The poets looked grand.
People get lost in a crowd. I'm not always real outgoing. I didn't meet any people who I'm still corresponding with from the FamousPoets.com convention, though there were about 450 poets in attendance.
I'm a bit skeptical of what Poetry.com does, as opposed to what Writing.com is. Writing.com is home writing site where I post most of my portfolio. Poetry.com is a contest.
They aren't the same thing. They have different goals. Writing.com promotes writers. Author's Den promotes writers. Poetry.com promotes. . . themselves?
Poetry.com does lots of business. I'm most interested in any personal experience you would be willing to share with me. I need your help to open my eyes, and perhaps the eyes of others. Reality is what you make it, so I need lots of outside perspective on this.
Please send me an e-mail if you can.
Thanks, and peace, ~Patrice
ps I received this unbelieveably informative link as I was finishing this article, and wanted to share the infomation contained therein. This just blows me away!
http://www.windpub.com/literary.scams/bigmoney.htm (copy and paste into your browser)
Web Site: Facts and Opinions About Poetry.Com
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|Reviewed by Mary Lacey, Desertrat
|I wrote a poem once for poetry.com, and was invited to go to Las Vegas to see Tony Danza, have my poetry read, I was going to receive an award for free (with just $149.00 shipping) I could receive a three CD set with my poem read by a professional. All I did was buy the book my poem was in. The rest of it I truly believe is hype. I kept getting offers and offers in my email, and I got sick of it. It was one poem and not even that good. I'm glad this was bought up. I also got a letter from "Noble House" wanting to print my poetry, but before I did anything, I found out it was the biggest scam around. Thanks for letting me vent.|
|Reviewed by Damien Rickner
|I have submitted and been "published." Seems no harm in that, but luckily their relentless appeal to vanity has always made me feel queasy, hence they've gotten not one red cent from me. Not that I have one to give anyway... I suppose that makes it a bit easier.|
|Reviewed by Julie Donner Andersen
|I am sorry to have to say, Patrice, that Poetry.com exploits the writer's need for acceptance and praise, and darn it all...so far, they do it within legal parameters! But that doesn;t make them any less dirty.
The only good thing to come from entering your poems to Poetry.com's anthologies is that now you can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you ARE a published poet! Just don't tell any RESPECTABLE editor where it was you appeared in print..lol.
|Reviewed by megan nitschke
|I have also recieved letters from poetry.com saying that I have won all these awards. The first time I got a letter about having my poem published, I was completely thrilled. I tookup on the offer and dropped $50 to get my poem published. I then got another offer and dropped $50 more to get another poem published. My books came in and it turns out that if you send in money, your poem gets on the front page. I got 2 books, that were supposed to be 2 -different- books) but they were the exact same. One had one poem and the other had my other poem, but the rest of the books were the exact same. I spent $100 to get 2 books, that are not sold anywhere but to poets in the book, that were pretty much the same book.
Poetry.com did a great job at making me feel amazing about myself, then ripping that good feeling away. I felt as if I was scammed, but some people might be able to find the tricks around them. So, when it comes to scams, in my experience-poetry.com is all about OUR money.
|Reviewed by Flying Fox Ted L Glines
|Patrice, there probably are very few of us who has not had a poem or two published in the Poetry.com anthologies, and paid to buy a copy of that book, and received all of the letters of congratulation and (of course) invitations to upcoming conventions. Scam? It depends on how you look at it. Poetry.com, like PublishAmerica, is in business to make money, and they do a wonderful job of accomplishing that goal. And they do offer a beginning poet the opportunity to hold a thick book in their hands -- with one of their poems in it! I still have my copy of the one anthology I bought, and I still have trouble finding my poem in that small type-face Poetry.com uses to scrunch as many poems as possible into each page. Ah ... lesson learned.|
|Reviewed by Randall Barfield
|i agree with both kisha and cristine. unless u just want to spend some money & have a good social time, don't do it. if u r looking 4 interaction with other poets, writers, etc. why not take writing courses at a local univ. or college? there u will get real feedback from peers and u will give feedback. these r just my thoughts we all r vain kisha is surely on the right track aside from the interaction u get on AD and writing.com there just isn't much else available. Also, why not write to some author u really love reading and tell them u love their work, etc. Once i wrote to Ann Rule and she wrote me a letter back. Was i dizzy for a few days, though i didn't save it. still,...good luck i also teach ESL in Colombia--if u want action, go there and teach! cheers|
|Reviewed by Kisha Cowan (Reader)
|Haha... no I am not laughing at your situation; I am laughing at mine. I entered one poem in the poetry.com contest, did not win (of course :}), however I was chosen as a semi-finalist with my "outstanding poetry". I, lusting for validation of my poetry skills (which I wasn't sure I had), recieved the letter in the mail. I was thrilled. I sent my $49.95 plus shipping and handling to the International Society of Poets and recieved my poem, on a "deluxe hardbond edition featuring my poetry on a page to itself" as the letter so proudly stated. And to top things off it was on the first page of the book. Have you ever heard the phrase "if it's to good to be true then it probably is"? I totally agree with that statement and dealing with poetry.com. I was already weary of the forty-nine dollars. But what took the cake was when they invited me to the convention. I did not have the money. They wrote me another letter stating that if I paid a fee they would have my poem read by a professional poet. I am the poet... that's as professional as it get. When it was too late for me to go to the convention(because I did not reply), they wrote me again to let me know that they would be sending me awards(for being such a great poet). However, I had to pay a large shipping and handling fee for "such bulky" awards.Who wants that kind of award? These are my personal experiences,I cannot speak for anyone but myself. It is your choice, but I would be very very weary of spending any amount of money on this group. Sorry my comment is so long.And remember if you deserve a award for your work then you should recieve just that and not have to pay for it. So don't feel bad about being a little vain, every poet (including myself) wonder if they have any talent and that is where the trap comes in... Sorry my comment is so long.|
|Reviewed by Christine Boyce
|Yes, it's a scam. If you do a search on google, you'll see personal testimony from others who have been to the convention and felt scammed.
People have intentionally written gibberish poems, and over the top bad poetry, and even poetry that is actually about how poetry.com is a scam--and they still get the mail and email about how their poem has been carefully reviewed and selected for its quality. Which means they don't actually READ the poems there. They just send a form letter to everyone who submits.