Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Poetry Popularity Contest

My elderly mixed retriever Jack just received another in a multitude of emails from Apparently, they’ve moved from the ranks of scamming into spamming. What they want you to do is forward your poem’s link to as many people as you know (and have them forward, etc.) inviting them to visit and vote on your poem, no matter how lacking in literary quality it might be.

To the clueless, voting for a friend’s poem might seem like a lovely thing to do in the name of friendship, even if the poem is dreadful. is betting that those clueless will be so impressed with the International Library of Poetry website when they visit to cast their votes that they’ll start posting their own poems, being declared semi-finalists, being offered over-priced merchandise, dubious awards, etc. In short, they’ll be hooked.

In the past, I have received emails from poets and self-pubbed novelists who had never met me but who harvested my email addy from the Virginia Writers Club website and figured (wrongly) that I’d help out an unknown writer of dubious talent. A quick look at whatever I was supposed to vote for told me it wasn’t deserving of recognition. While I was tempted to write an in depth critique for a few of them, I decided not to waste my time for something I wasn’t getting paid for.

The clueless don’t get that the determination of a work’s literary value isn’t by majority rule. Yeah, some books are popular because they’re good, and word spreads. But you can’t have declare an otherwise dreadful book—or poem—worthy of literary merit by having a lot of folks vote for it.

OK. Rant over. Here’s the email Jack received:

Jack, have your favorite poem rated by friends and family, and take advantage of this unique contest brought to you by We have given away over 80 iPod Shuffles and $6,000.00 in cash. We are committed to continuing this fun and exciting contest, and we need your help! All you have to do is send your poem to everyone you know, requesting that they rate your poem and send it to their friends. Before you know it, your poetry will circle the globe in the blink of an eye. Who knows? . . . you may even join our long list of winners in this extraordinary competition.

We award an Apple iPod Shuffle to poets every day, seven days a week, and we award $1,000.00 to two lucky poets every month.

Remember this contest is free and our gift to you for helping to spread the art and love of poetry.
We have been amazed at how creative some of our poets have been. Some have posted the link to their poem on their personal web page or on their page, while others have used blogs, chat rooms, and other imaginative techniques to get the word out about their poetry.

Put Your Poem Link On Myspace!
Copy and Paste the below HTML onto your myspace page: You can also use the above HTML on, blogs, chat rooms, and any other network to get the word out about your poetry.

Here is your link:

Good Luck, Get Creative, And Keep Poetry Alive!

News Flash: Poetry is alive and is likely to remain so, despite the efforts of to kill it off by flooding the market with mediocre (and worse!) poems.

If you think scamming a scammer is pretty creative, then go ahead and vote for Jack's poem. Just don't look around too much while you're visiting

Good luck, and don't forward this to anybody you know. Jack doesn't want an iPod Shuffle; what he really wants is a video iPod. And maybe a MySpace page.



Blogger House on the Glade Hill said...

lol... Jack is so lucky. Creative and popular! I wish I had a dog to win me cool stuff...

9:04 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

I know someone who had a good story but couldn't write. I suggested writers' clubs etc. but one of those companies who make money on people like him had him thinking he had the next best seller. He paid a lot of money to them to publish the book. No one is buying it. Jack could probably do better.

4:02 PM  

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