View Full Version : Creative Communication / PoeticPower.com

09-22-2004, 05:43 AM
There were a bunch of flyers in my English class about the www.poeticpower.com (http://www.poeticpower.com) poetry contest. They seem a LOT like poetry.com; here's one of many suspicious quotes from their site:

"Who is Creative Communication? Creative Communication is a company who is devoted to the promotion of writing, teaching and appreciation of student writing. The intent of the student writing contest is to motivate creative writers. The top entries are published in an anthology that will record the creative insights of today's young writers. There is no requirement for a student to purchase an anthology, however, if a student wishes to purchase one, it is made available at an affordable price. Winners of the contest and the top 10% of the schools that enter receive a free copy of the anthology. In addition, any teacher with 5 or more students accepted to be published will receive a free anthology that features their young writers."

The anthology thing is what first made me suspicious. The anthologies have completely unattractive colors, have no distribution, and if you want to order them, the site won't even let you see sample pages, individual covers (I saw two of the covers, one on the flyer and another on the site), or even author lists! The only market for these things is poets! I bet they accept everyone as a "semifinalist," like poetry.con, and go from there.

Any thoughts?

James D Macdonald
09-22-2004, 06:21 AM
They claim that one of their anthologies was a VOYA honor book in 2002 -- which ought to be easy enough to check.

09-22-2004, 07:55 PM
I've run across this contest before. They get entries by approaching teachers, and convincing them to get their students to participate. The students and their parents are then solicited to buy the anthology. It's a classic vanity scheme.

- Victoria

09-23-2004, 02:17 AM
Jim, I'm curious. Was that a poetry anthology?

I am looking at VOYA now, and I do not find them listed anywhere in the issue that has the Poetry Picks for 2002.


09-23-2004, 03:39 AM
"I've run across this contest before. They get entries by approaching teachers, and convincing them to get their students to participate. The students and their parents are then solicited to buy the anthology. It's a classic vanity scheme."

Should I tell my English teacher? Has anyone ever told Writer Beware about poor anthology quality or other issues? Are there actually any money-receiving winners? I don't think there's a fee, at least ... are there any rights grabs of entries? I'll go look at the site again and see if I find anything.

Thanks to everyone for the responses!

01-08-2005, 03:50 AM
A few months ago, I posted a thread about the PoeticPower.com contest. Here's a followup. Below is an email (don't know why I said letter before editing) that I sent to my English teacher:

"Dear Mr. Reddick:

When you first distributed the PoeticPower.com contest forms, I could tell that something was amiss. The contest, with its big prizes and lack of an entry fee, made me suspicious. A gut feeling told me that this contest was of the ilk of Poetry.com. I posted a question about it on the Absolute Write Bewares and Background Check forum, where famed writers' advocate Victoria Stauss, one half of SFWA's Writer Beware, confirmed my suspicions. The Essay Contest, Poetry Contest, and the sponsor Creative Communications are all sleazy.

I wrote the absolute worst poem I could muster. I included it at the end of this email for reference. On Friday, there was an "acceptance letter" (more like a sleazy collection of ad copy encouraging me to buy a hardcover anthology) in my mailbox. An excerpt:

"If you wish to have a copy of the hardbound book, ... you need to return the enclosed order form."

Therein lies the scam. One hardbound book is $26.40 with shipping. An obscene price for a cheaply-made anthology filled with unscreened poetry. Like Poetry.com's, this anthology will likely have thin paper and many poems crammed to one page. After all, if they didn't reject MY poem, they surely accepted everything. And it would take 24 weeks just for the book to be shipped, too.

So here are my conclusions:
-The contest accepts everyone who submits a poem.
-The contest is pulling in so much cash from vanity anthology sales that it can easily afford to pay out $3000 to the "top ten."
-The contest does not market its books to the general public, thus discrediting the notion that publication in this anthology will cause a poet to be "recognized" as the "acceptance letter" claims.
-The contest's online order form is clearly geared toward the poets confirms the above notion. The form contains no cover images or poem excerpts.
-The essay contest is exactly the same: an unethical attempt to trick inexperienced writers to buy books with their work in it.

I mean, if this was an anthology worth publishing with, Creative Communications would be paying poets and marketing! They're asking for the right to use intellectual property for free, and to add insult to injury, they want you to pay for a book with your own work in it! Their overly-hyped sales copy is geared toward convincing you to buy the book. Creative Communications knows that joyous writers will pay to see their work in print, even if said writers are not required to pay, if coerced enough. Especially if that payment is solicited in an underhanded way that doesn't make writers feel like they've been vanity published.

I urge you to warn my fellow students and to not pass out fliers next year. I'll be sure to bring you my "acceptance letter," order form, and fancy brochure on Monday. Oh, and here's my poem: (I do not, of course, ACTUALLY feel like a stereotypical angsty teen, so no need to report me to guidance :-D . I hope you'll laugh as much as I did while writing it.)

*"The Darkness of Life
*The darkness is closing, absorbing everything.
I am deep in a melancholy pit of misery.
But then the light comes.
Singing cherubs in a heavenly choir.
I know I'll make it through.
With the support of my friends and the cherubs.
Because I know I'm a good person.
Even if they say I'm not.
I believe in the power of dreams.
To alleviate the evils of life.
Why, oh why, must the would be so harsh. [sic]
Sucking the fun out of everything.
But I will persevere.
My heartstrings twang like an off-tempo harp.
Why must the world be so cruel and unforgiving to the innocent?
But as I gaze out my window, [sic] at the roiling storm clouds, I am at peace."

Thank you for your time.

Anders Bruce "

aka eraser
01-08-2005, 06:45 AM
I'd be interested in your teacher's reaction. Let us know (though paraphrasing it would be better than posting it, unless you have his permission).

01-08-2005, 07:41 AM
Good idea, eraser.

01-11-2005, 03:53 AM
Okay, my English teacher has decided not to deal with these people again. However, I had the sad duty of informing a classmate about this scam.

She was so excited! She came up to me at lunch and told me she had been accepted, too, and that she was in the running for the Top 10 prizes. (The form letter acceptance said so.) I told her that the contest was a scam and the expression on her face made me feel awful. I hated being the bearer of bad news.

But there's no way I was going to let these frauds get away with it. She was going to buy an anthology, but she told me she'd tell her parents about the scam-iness of PoeticPower.com. So I've saved one poet, and all the future students who would have been reeled in, from forking over way too much for a crappy anthology.

But -- she believed, if only for a day, that she was going to be published! And I assured her that though PoeticPower accepts everything, she shouldn't think that she's a poor writer just because her poem was taken with the bad. But I think she was seriously questioning herself despite my comment. A publisher showed interest for the first time, only to turn out to be a scam. What if her work isn't publishable?

I haven't read it, so I can't speak of the quality, but I hope this doesn't crush her will to write. Scammers like this sicken me.

aka eraser
01-11-2005, 04:18 AM
It's never pleasant being the bearer of bad news but I'm sure she'll come to understand (if she doesn't already) that finding out before the fact is much better than after.

And if her writing aspirations are derailed after one bump, then she was probably on the wrong track.

01-13-2005, 12:00 AM
Your poem is hilarious! Good luck in the future. And also, congrats for being skeptical. It will serve you well in the future.

James D. Macdonald
07-31-2005, 02:23 AM
Yet another poetry contest.

08-05-2005, 12:28 AM
Your Writing Contest Headquarters!!!11!! http://www.clicksmilies.com/s0105/aktion/action-smiley-002.gif


03-13-2007, 07:23 PM
I am the editor of poeticpower.com. As several of the comments that have been made are not based on facts I thought it would be good to defend Creative Communication. I agree that Poetry.com is a scam. They do accept everything that is sent in and just want to sell you a book.
1. We only accept 45% of the poems that are sent in. We do have professors and teachers and university students in education and creative writing that read each individual poem. Most poems are not accepted. We don't say that every poem published is the best poem written. If you have a poem that is accepted to be published that means that it was better than 55% of the poems that were sent in to the contest. It would be much cheaper and easier to accept every poem. We do not do that and have cases of poems that are not accepted. We are members of the Better Business Bureau and are proud of the honesty in our practices.
2. We do award prizes and the students are listed on the website. We also give our thousands of dollars in grants to schools to help with their language arts programs.
3. We are proud of our book. It is professionally printed and bound at a bindery in Michigan. There is no compromise on quality and it is comparable to any book you would find at a bookstore. I am sorry if our fireworks burst on the front is not attractive to the person who posted the comment. As we are celebrating the writing of young poets, we thought it appropriate. We do send a color flyer to the poet so they know what it looks like before ordering.
4. Any teacher that has five or more students accepted gets a free book. That way poets can see their work in print without having to purchase a book. As it is not a million copy best seller, we price the book to cover the costs of judging, typing, printing and binding. If you go to the bookstore, million copy best sellers often cost even more than our books at $21.95.
5. We do have a VOYA honor book in 2002. It is Broken Hearts Healing: Young Poets Speak Out on Divorce. It was published by our sister company PoetTree Press. We took the best poems on divorce and created an anthology to help kids deal with divorce and realize they are not alone.
6. There are a lot of internet scams that have as their sole purpose to sell book. They usually have an entry fee, accept every poem entered, you have to buy a book to be published, have a high priced book and the list goes on. The contrast to this are literary contests that accept one out of a thousand to be in an elite anthology. We are middle of the road and are between these extremes. We provide motivation for young writers with no requirement to purchase anything to be published. Buying our anthology is like buying a highschool yearbook. You don't get a free copy just because your picture is in the yearbook, but by making a purchase you are sharing the pictures (in our case writing) of your classmates and recording a memory forever. A book purchase is like paying to get a piece of artwork framed. We professionally bind your poem in a book.
I welcome any comments and suggestions drtom@poeticpower.com.
Tom Worthen, Ph.D.
Editor-Creative Communication

03-14-2007, 04:42 AM
One of my poems was accepted for publication in Creative Communications while I was in high school. I was happy that I got accepted for publication, but I knew I could not afford to buy an anthology and I knew my parents could not afford to buy it for me. I passed up on the offer to buy a copy.

Many students do not have a lot of money to buy things like that. Tom, why can't you give the winning poems free copies, or at least donate one copy to the poet's school's library so everyone can enjoy the book? That would be a lot better for the students whose poems have been accepted for publication in the anthologies, especially if there are less than five students from the school whose poem was accepted.

(I think I was one of the few poets from my school whose poem was accepted for publication so we did not get a free book).


06-22-2007, 01:57 AM
this is an old topic, but i can speak from experience.
i entered this contest in 2004 and my poem was accepted into the top ten poems for my age group.
now, i'm not entirely sure what happens to anyone who isn't in the top ten; however, i was given a free book and a $50 savings bond.

despite what tom says, this could very well be a scam. the advice i have to offer on the matter is this:
enter your poem in the contest regardless. if you aren't in the top ten, forget about it and throw the letter away.

06-03-2009, 04:58 AM
I've run across this contest before. They get entries by approaching teachers, and convincing them to get their students to participate. The students and their parents are then solicited to buy the anthology. It's a classic vanity scheme.

- Victoria

I can vouch for that. As a high school student I have experienced this first hand. Our teacher told us that we had to enter a contest this year, and suggested that we enter this one. It was a grade so I entered. Somewhere around like 30+ students from our school were selected to be published and we all received our poem's proof sheet, a order form for the anthology, and a chance to win prizes if you make the top ten. We had to proofread our own poems; any mistakes in them would be published in the book. I didn't order a book for various reasons so I can't say what sort of quality they are, but the school did and I plan to check it out in the fall when the book actually comes in.

It says right on the form that a limited number will be printed and if you don't order then, you probably won't get ahold of a book.

-The contest accepts everyone who submits a poem.

This is actually untrue. I know a few people with actually good poems that didn't get accepted.

06-03-2009, 07:08 PM
This is actually untrue. I know a few people with actually good poems that didn't get accepted.

I'd suspect that this has more to do with space and cost (the page count has to be kept down, so the company can realize a profit) than with any issues of quality.

- Victoria

09-30-2009, 02:43 AM
I have gain honorable mention in their contest three times; two times as a student in high school. I feel the contest is a great chance for poets with some literary skills to gain some experience. Yes, it would be hard to put in some free verse poetry slam poetry into the contest. The traditional poetry seems do very well in the Creative Communication contest. Also, The Creative Communication Contest did not seem that big of a contest back in 2003.

This is no poetry.com contest. The Creative Communication Contest does not make you fly half way across the country to receive your reward.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
09-30-2009, 07:34 AM
If that's the only difference between them, I'd say that doesn't give them much weight. If you're paying for any part, it's vanity. End of story.