Showing posts with label contests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label contests. Show all posts


If you don't think poetry is big business, guess again.

Today, as I was going through my gmail, I noticed the following targeted "sponsored links" hawking contests, publications, MFA programs, and even writing gigs for poets:

-----Dorothy Prizes



-----Create Space


-----Poetry LA

-----Antioch LA MFA

-----Sheetz Poet (Sheetz is a local convenience store chain.)

----------More About...

---------------Humorous Poems

---------------Short Poems


---------------Romantic Poems

No doubt that many of the ads on this blog are targeted toward the poetry money-making machine.

And, guess what? I am thoroughly unapologetic about the possibility that poets might make money from their work and that this site might keep afloat because of ad revenue.

Capitalism! It's the American Way!

In my opinion, the Jeffrey Levine and Joan Houlihan publications, contests, and conferences are no different from Poetry[dot]com or any other poetry money-making enterprise.

Here's a comparison and contrast of Tupelo and Poetry[dot]com:


Tupelo: Fee-based contests

Poetry[dot]com: Free contests


Tupelo: Organizes and runs expensive conferences filled with celebrity poets (albeit mostly unknown outside of poetry).

Poetry[dot]com: Organizies and runs lavish (and expensive) conferences filled with big name mainstream celebrities, who often have little to do with poetry.


Tupelo: Publishes books of the so-called elite (often friends and cronies of the owners), primarily funded by reading and contest fees collected by unsuspecting poets.

Poetry[dot]com: In lieu of a contest fee, publishes vanity books and then hits up poets to buy the volume in which their poems appear, thus basing their on profits from its published poets directly.


Tupelo and other "non-profits" simply hide behind credentials and the sacred word of


and act outraged that this haloed word would be besmirched by those who would dare to make major money from poetry and then have the audacity to question the Levine/Houlihan "mission" of promoting poetry.

At least with Poetry[dot]com and others like them, one quickly figures out their main mission: to make scads of money off the young, naive, and ignorant.

The so-called literary mainstream hides behind shell non-profit corporations, thus perpetuating a huge con designed to snare young and not-so-young hopefuls into sending money to contests where winners have been decided in advance.

Do you, at the expense of your own career and pocketbook, want to fund the career of a foet?

Do all literary contests fall under this umbrella? Of course not, but enough do that one would do well to do a thorough search before committing to sending money. On both Post Foetry and, this has been my mantra.

Christopher Woodman learned this lesson the hard way: for his Tupelo reading fee, he was promised a short personal review of his poetry collection.

What he actually received: a form letter.

Big business, indeed.

Come to think of it, I actually prefer poetry[dot]com's business model--at least its antics are fairly easy to figure out.

Guest Writer: PAULA ABDUL = JORIE GRAHAM? (by Monday Love)

The popularity of "American Idol" would seem to confirm that large swaths of pop music audiences prefer "Judging/Competition/Win-Lose/Survivor" thrills to the actual music, and why is it no surprise that a major judge on "American Idol" has no clue and doesn't even know what she's judging?

When "the Contest" (the elated winner, the bitter loser) becomes more important than what is actually being judged, it is inevitable that we have "judges" like Paula Abdul, who, like Jorie Graham, are mired in big, stinky, judging scandals.

There are other similarities, too; both Graham and Abdul are "good people"; they are kind, they love giving praise, and they adore crowning "winners," but if the judge shows no responsibility to what is ostensibly being judged, all this "nice" is merely a cover for damaging incompetence which hurts everyone in the long run.

Both Graham and Abdul have been judged favorably for doing (poetry, singing) what they in turn, "judge," but it's been a long time since Abdul has had a genuine hit, and it's been a long time since Graham has written a good poem.

Abdul was caught on live TV, this week, "judging" a number which hadn't even happened yet.

Graham has been caught (most notably by giving poetry prizes to students and lovers rather than actually judging contests.

Graham holds the highest academic poetry position in the world at Harvard, and yet she's a scandal-ridden judge, and her actual poetry credentials are weak: she can't write verse like the bards of old, or even write verse like living versifiers, she's never published an essay of note on poetry: theory, history, or any aspect of the art, and today Ms. Graham has been reduced to waging a cynical campaign to save her poetic reputation--by showing how much she cares about the planet. Jorie Graham cares more about global warming than you do, and this makes her not only the best poet, but a terrific judge of poetry, it seems.

After her poetry contest judging scandals, Graham said she would never judge poetry contests again. But now Graham is back as a judge, signing on to judge a big poetry contest. Maybe Graham envies Paula Abdul and all the attention and power judging confers.

Who knows? Hey, you go, girl!

--Monday Love


(Foetry friends and foes will remember Monday Love as being a regular on the now-archived Foetry forum.)

WARNING! Before Entering the Next "Discovery"/Boston Review 2008 Poetry Contest... is not going to get into evaluating the individual merits of literary contests, but the following blurb cannot go unnoticed:

Now in its fifth decade, the "Discovery"/Boston Review Poetry Contest, formerly "Discovery"/The Nation, is designed to attract large audiences to poets who have not yet published a book. This year, the Poetry Center is proud to partner with Boston Review. Four winners are awarded a reading at the Y (set for Monday, May 5, 8:15 pm), publication in the Boston Review and $500. Timothy Donnelly, poetry editor at Boston Review, coordinates the contest, and three leading poets are invited to judge.

We're pleased to announce that Jorie Graham, Reginald Shepherd and James Tate will judge in 2008. Many winners of this contest have gone on to distinguished careers as poets, among them Marilyn Hacker, Katha Pollitt, Mary Jo Salter and Gary Soto.

See here for source.

Very interesting piece, given that Jorie Graham has supposedly “retired” from judging contests. Before entering this contest (or any other contest with her name attached to it), please check out the Foetry Archive.

Essentially, Ms. Graham has a penchant for selecting friends, students, and lovers (the most notorious, her now-husband Peter Sacks) for major prizes, so before writing that check, you might want to check around on the internet before deciding to send money. [Update: Thankfully, the deadline has passed for this year's contest.]

If Boston Review is smart, its staff will "retire" Jorie Graham from its slate of judges.

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