To those of you who are critiquing others' literacy, let's not get into that, lest we forget that this is a forum to unmask those who are trying to bilk the elderly, mentally handicapped and/or just plain gullible out of their hard earned (in some cases) cash. Besides, I think everyone has something to offer. Of course, with the exception of my ex, who's about as useful as foreskin (and, again, that's just an opinion).
In any case, poetry.com seems suspect to begin with while limiting all poems to something like 10 lines of 40 charcter sentences. My suspicions were further enforced when after trimming down one of my more conciencious poems, and sending it off, I did not respond to their continuous e-mails or mailings and finally receiving a "sorry you won't be able to attend the symposium" e-mail. In that same e-mail, of which the president himself sent, it was stated arrangments for a "professional poetry reader" could be made to read my poem at the symposium and they would also send me my trophy and medallion that I had already won for the low, low cost of $169 plus postage and handling.
Uh-huh. It didn't sound like that great of a deal. This definitely is a scam. I'm sure they'll send you some piddley something or other, but this organization is clearly devoted to making money for the people who run it. Not to tap into some vein of artistic outlet to allow it to pour througout our American culture in order to enhance it.
There are distinguished and legitimate organizations dedicated to give rise to our culture thru the arts. The only one that comes to my mind right now is Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. (OWFI). They charge a small organization fee (about $20/yr) and when they have their contests, they usually charge a small entry fee (ranges from $5 to $20 depending on the category); however, OWFI does award cash prizes. I won a whole $5 one year for taking third place in pros humor (unfortunately, I squandered my fortune at McDonalds, and now have to work for a living). The cash prizes are small (1st Prize is usually around $100 to $1,000 depending on the category), but OWFI is legitimate and if you're interested in taking part of a nationwide contest, this could be a venue for that.
If you're interested in having your work published, I believe they also have Literary Agents conventions on an ongoing basis.
Okay, now I know I said earlier this was a forum . . . blah, blah, blah . . . but it wouldn't be very artistic of me if I didn't step on my soap box for a second or two (okay 5 minutes). I hear my poetic brethren being hurt by these people, and who wouldn't be? However, artists are typically wandering souls that have emotions boiling under their skin so close and hot that it flows through their words after every experience and leaves scars when cooled. So being victimized by these types of unscrupulous people makes it that much worse for us. But try not to let this destroy you. Otherwise, the world may have one less tortured soul to make it more interesting. Good LUCK!
Los Angeles, California