Hayden's Ferry Review


From the Intern Desk: Poetry.com

What does it take to be a published poet?

Apparently make a check out to poetry.com, and editor Howard Ely will secure your place in publishing immortality.

The site poetry.com acts as a database and resource service for everything poetry. Writers, discussions on form, and even a contest featuring an award for 20,000 dollars are available.

I logged onto the site and checked out their online library for information on poetics. I saw an offer for a poetry contest and decided to give it a shot. After two weeks, I had completely forgotten it, until I received a letter in the mail from the ISP (International Society of Poets). The letter stated that out of thousands of submitted poems, I was selected as one of "outstanding publishing merit." Having never been published, I was excited at first, until I got to the section about handing over my credit card information.

For almost fifty dollars, I would receive a leather bound book including other "selected poets." A red flag went off in my head and I immediately thought this was a scam.

Online research revealed numerous websites, including this one that speak of these less-than-honest techniques. While poetry.com seems to be legitimate from the resource end, my reading revealed that EVERY poet that submits to the contest receives this congratulatory letter.

Considering that most journals want work based on skill, merit, and artistic integrity, paying to have my poem published didn't seem right...