World of Poetry

Flashback: World of Poetry Honorable Mention for “The Spoon Room”

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Submitting poems to the Word of Poetry contests in the late 80s amused me, so I did it several times. Here’s the Award of Merit Certificate I received on Nov 21, 1987–when my poem “The Spoon Room” won Honorable Mention in the New American Poetry Contest. This rank was shared with hundreds of other poets. But I did receive a nice certificate, suitable for framing.

The company also asked to publish the poem in their New American Poetry Anthology. Judging by the photocopy of the form I kept, I returned the signed form authorizing them to use it. Years ago, I found one of those anthologies in a thrift store. It contained thousands of poems crammed onto hundreds of 8.5 x 11 pages, in no particular order. I could never locate any of my poems in the book.

Here’s “The Spoon Room” text on the authorization form:

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World of Poetry’s business model seemed to be rewarding every single poet who submitted work with a personalized certificate or honorable mention, and then selling them encyclopedic anthologies. As a contributor, I was entitled to a discount on the $69.95 price–reducing the cost to $39.95. Poets could pay extra for including a dedication, photograph, or illustration. I didn’t have that kind of money at the time, so I never bought the book. But somewhere, World of Poetry anthologies must be floating around with my work in them.

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Flashback: Golden Poet Award 1991

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I found this “beautiful certificate” in a folder filled with miscellaneous literary correspondence. World of Poetry ran many contests, and anyone who entered would get one of these mass printed forms. I’m not sure it inspired me to “new poetical heights,” but I did write a subversively sentimental poem for one of their contests.

Back in the 90’s, it seemed rather amusing to send stuff to them. Once I got an Honorary Mention Award, but haven’t found that yet. The company made money by compiling huge books filled with sentimental poetry and selling them to the Golden Poets who “contributed.” I could have ordered the “brass and walnut Golden Poet Plaque” mentioned below, but I never did that either. So I have nothing to “celebrate my greatness.”

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Judging by a quick Internet search, World of Poetry no longer exists. That would seem to leave a huge vacancy for an organization to boost poetic egos while fleecing them of their money. I wonder what happened to Edde-Lou Cole and her poetry mission?