norbert blei | POETRYdot COM & Other Cons, Contests, Conundrums

7 12 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 182 | August 8, 2007

POETRYdot COM & Other Cons, Contests, Conundrums

Okay. Lessons learned — the hard way. Read all about it. And spread the word , especially among young poets, new poets, poets who think people are anxious to pay a poet big bucks for his poem and possibly publish it in a book. Anything you can do to expose the scam-artists running these sites, do it… Norbert Blei


Have you ever had home-made apple butter? I have made it but hadn’t thought of writing a poem about it until your suggestion.

Uncle Dave


I always thought was one of the “publish anyone’s poetry free — but buy the book if you want to see it” places. ???


Norb …

this thing reeks of scam… – jb

Check out the Hcolom Press Featured Music: Log Hog & Spent Sprocket. http:/


These are the very kings of the leather-bound volume and wouldn’t you like a copy for your auntie in Dakota? I think the prizes are legit, but I think computers read the submissions. Before, way before, becoming the literary giant I am today, I sent them this:

Poem for the Web
write a poem that fits in this space and

win big prizes the internet should publish

verse of all sizes how do i know if this

will end too late perhaps it wont if i don’t

punctuate ive tried to write for various

reasons to talk about trees and changes of

seasons ive written stories that told of

lost loves and of grandchildren and of

hawks and of doves ive written assignments

to please english teachers ive written

eulogies to be given by preachers id write

about anything about this and that id try

writing a poem at the drop of a cat id

write about dogs with big cold wet noses

and not expect money or bouquets of roses

id write about sailing alone in my boat id

even write gibberish if i thought that

would float id be glad to write odes in

praise of bagels and lox but how can i

write a poem that fits in this little box

Ralph Murre


yep. a scam. a warning.



I support your idea about the non-competitive nature of the arts, recognizing that there are always countless numbers of people out there who are every bit as effective as the ones we hear about daily. I was first powerfully struck by this in Amsterdam; after being overwhelmed by Rembrandt’s “Night Watch“, I staggered into a little side room full of the most wonderful paintings by his contemporary artists of whom I had never heard. One’s lasting fame depends on chance, probably most importantly the approval of the right power voice at the right instant. Which is why contests appeal; is this my moment for eternity?.

About 25 years ago I blundered into competition by accident. I had sent two slides to Mystic at the suggestion of Cmdr. Brigham ( Coast Guard Ice Breaker, Sturgeon Bay ) to ask if they might be interested in handling my work. Telephone call came from their curator Jinishian, saying, “Send them both; you are in the new, 1982 International.” The problem with the arts is they can’t be quantified numerically, and we each read/see/hear them according to our own experience-shaped receptors.

Brigham stopped by last week on his way to Chicago. By the way, he was Commander of the first surface vessel ever to reach the North Pole. He is now director of Arctic Studies in Alaska, struggling to coordinate international scientists efforts and reporting findings to the White House. He didn’t seem very confident that anyone was listening.




It appears that is a vanity scam. The solicitation of money comes after you submit your poem.



My experience (and others’) is that “” is a rip-off!!! It’s free to enter — BUT, they accept nearly everyone and then they charge you for a bio or a book. It’s the same old group, just now on the web.

A better site is “”



I hate to tell you, but is also a scam. Years ago, when I knew no better, like many others like me, I sent a poem to them and it was accepted for one of their books.. and then have received for years almost daily e mails from them, trying to get me to buy the books. I did buy one book with that poem in it, but no more. That is the deal…and the books are very cheaply printed. just the worst paper stock you can buy. It is a vanity press of the worst kind, since it induces you to enter contests and then never lets you alone after that. It is a money making venture. I am off their list, I hope but I have put them in every file of junk mail, trash, etc I have… and still they managed to get through, even when I have changed e mail providers they are very crafty.

Now, I notice, they are operating under various names, in order to hide who they are. They are a business…their books are not cheap. They are using your material to make money for themselves… not to help the writer. Lots of the stuff is very poor poetry also. I will always regret having sent a very good poem to them. Now, I see that they are into the contest business…another scam, which when legitimate, help some small presses stay alive.

The web site everyone should subscribe to is Winning They charge for membership, but the site has every poetry contest that they feel is legitimate in the country and overseas with descriptions, instructions and links to submissions and contests…just amazing site…also has its own contests which attract some excellent poets…just wonderful web site… It is my mail source of information updated on contests..and other information re poetry. dorothy terry

P.S. Mine was a GOOD POEM and one of the best I have ever written and it was one of the first. But I just objected to being hounded to death for years just because of that one. For that reason, they just have a terrible reputation and appear on not recommended lists of where to send your poetry. They do give beginners a chance though, and that is the good part of what they do, I think they have their bad reputation because they are such pests I have had other poems accepted but I never respond to them because it all means that I have to spend money to get them published in their books. they have Snodgrass working for them, and no one understands why…They drag him out once a year for their conventions. Really