Infinite Darkness of the Soul

The ever expanding works of Elizabeth Anne Easter. Poetry and musings of the stark reality of life.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Musings - The Desperate Poet

I have found that searching for poetry contests on Google is a little like walking into a bar and announcing that you will give $10 to anyone that can make you a model. Every person there will claim they can do it, just to get your money. There are so many sites that claim to be legitimate contests for struggling poets. While there are many contests worth entering, even for a small fee, there are still more that will promise a free chance to win - but with strings attached.

A perfect example of this is poetry.com, and the many guises they work under. If you check out this link, you will see exactly how discriminating they are in their search for quality poems. They essentially tell anyone and everyone, including your high school gym teacher with poor grammatical skills, that they are a finalist. Then, when all is said and done, they will send you order forms for vanity items featuring your poem. This is how they make money, and how you get laughed out of a publisher's office. These vanity scams are costly for a poet, in more ways than one. The uneducated poet thinks they now have some real credibility, after all, their poem on carpet lint was chosen out of thousands of other poems, and they end up buying useless merchandise as well. Then this poet says to GQ Publisher, "I've been published in poetry.com's anthology, because I was a finalist (or winner)." This publisher snickers and wonders what rock you crawled out from under.

Poets are far better off getting published in low paying (or even no pay) e-zines and magazines, or paying a small application fee to a legitimate contest. The key here is research. Do a Google search for poetry contest scams, or refer to the above link. If it sounds too good to be true, and if five sites you have come across say it is a scam, then it is. Just brush it off and move on.

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