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Write a poem that begins and ends with the same word

You May Already be a Winner

There is nothing wrong with entering poetry contests. It is one way of taking part in the larger world of poetry. It also gives you the motivation to write well and to keep writing. If you win a legitimate contest, it is a great honor. Unfortunately, many contests are not legitimate.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. There is no quick or easy route to get rich as a poet. Even making a living as a poet is a difficult task. The masses do not buy books of poetry. Exceptions to this rule are rare, and generally involve someone who is famous for something other than poetry. Keep this in mind at all times, because there are people out there looking to take advantage of you.

Poetry contests are one of the methods that unscrupulous people use to take advantage of poets. They offer a substantial prize, $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, $100,000 to the winners of their poetry contests. All you have to do is submit your poems a€“ along with a fee. Even if they don’t ask for an upfront fee, they still have ways of making you pay. In fact, if someone is offering you $100,000 for a contest you pay nothing to enter, you’d better be extra careful about entering.

Be prepared to become a?finalist. An unscrupulous contest promoter’s goal will be to get you to attend a convention at which the?winner?will be named. The convention will probably be at some pretty locale that is easy to get so, such as Las Vegas or Miami. The fee for the convention won’t be too unreasonable, because they want you to come, but make no mistake; you are paying for a trip along with many, many other people they named as?finalists. It may be a nice vacation, but you didn’t get there on talent. I don’t mean to say that you aren’t talented, just that talent is irrelevant to the contest promoters.

As a finalist, they will also publish you. Your poem will appear in a nice thick book along with a bunch of other poems. The book will be attractive, possibly leather-bound, but the poems will just be a collection of whoever sent something in. The book will cost you at least twenty dollars, maybe more. They’ll be counting on you to buy several so that your family and friends can see your “accomplishment”. They’ll probably also offer to sell you a nice plaque, perhaps one with your poem engraved on it. Whatever the case, they’ll keep trying to find a way to get your money.

There is nothing wrong with entering contests, but it pays to do a little research before you enter.?Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t enter contests if the sponsors seem unwilling to share the details of how the contest works. Look for contests that are sponsored by schools, newspapers, magazines, major corporations and reputable publishers. Understand that any fee you pay to enter is going to be used to fund the prizes. If the fee seems excessive, don’t enter. Five dollars is one thing, but as the price grows so do the chances that you are getting ripped off. It is better to make a five dollar mistake than a hundred dollar mistake.

Never pay an additional fee once you have entered a contest. Don’t pay to have the poem published. Don’t pay for a plaque. Don’t pay for a trip. If you are the one paying them, then you are?not?a winner.

Sorry for this fairly cynical post, but people need to be warned.

Today’s Assignment

Write a poem that begins and ends with the same word.

Today’s Featured Poet

I wanted to take this chance today to formally promote Rosemary Nissen-Wade’s recommended Australian poets. I have already discussed John Kinsella, who I found much to my liking. I haven’t had time to delve as deeply into these three poets, and I would appreciate hearing other people’s opinions about them.


  1. Zachary Allyn

    Weird how he says and does things
    just like I do

    To the point where it sometimes annoys me
    like it’s hard looking in a mirror
    when you’re not

    Seeing the things that will be carried forward
    and they’re not always
    what you would have chosen

    His eyes especially
    are eerily the same
    blue rimmed with green wave petals
    irises ringed with a splash of amber gold

    Confident in ways that I never was

    Underachiever just the same

    An interesting sticking point
    in the Nature vs. Nurture debate

    He’s funny
    no mystery there

    More importantly he can take a joke
    laugh genuinely; no pretense

    Empathy always

    Sensitivity in violent storms
    that calm to drama
    then clear in a matter of moments

    Kind, giving, and lazy – all at once
    Round smiling face
    Singing loudly and very off key

    Loves anchovies on his pizza
    Loves truly and easily

    No question
    He is mine
    He is me, improved
    He knows

    I mean it as a great compliment
    when I tell him often
    that he’s weird

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