Honorable Mention

Last year, while surfing Craigslist for writing opportunities, I saw an entry for a haiku contest. The idea was to write and submit “Hipster Haiku,” which would then be compiled into a book. Eventually, I did get a note back that my haiku was not chosen, but that I was a “runner-up.” That’s about what I figured would happen, and I chalked it up to a poetry.com-style scam. At least I got a few new haiku out of it, right?

My judgment may have been a little rash, though. Prompted by another writer friend, Chuck Anderson, I performed a Google vanity search. Most of the entries on the first pages actually did have something to do with me, with the exception of the private investigator in Broomfield, Colorado (ironic; that’s just down the road) and the persistent prison inmate in Minnesota who is seeking pen pals.

What caught my eye, though, was an entry a couple of pages in about haiku. That took me to this page, which lists 200 Honorable Mentions for the Hipster Haiku contest in alphabetical order. Sure enough, my name was 84th on the list, and I am evidently the only Colorado Honorable Mention. That’s more than I thought I would get for that contest.

Anyway, the fact that my poems weren’t chosen frees them up for publication on my website, so I’ll post them here before adding them to the poetry category. Enjoy. Quality feedback is welcome.

Tall, fit, curls, soul patch, Vespa
You … me … my scooter

5’6″, blonde, blue
Seeking … anyone

Razr phone, iPod,
MySpace, Converse tennis shoes.
Why’s she still lonely?

Poetry.com and Brian Plante

Brian Plante updated his Chronicles of the Garden Variety Writers today. I found almost nothing offensive in this week’s entry, though it did still feel a little smug. I agreed with the assessment he made of a member’s “winning” poetry publication in a national contest. You can find one of mine from a similar “contest” somewhere on their website. After accepting my poem and lavishing all kinds of praise upon it, they informed me that it was selected (with thousands of other poems) for publication in a beautiful, cloth-bound volume which I could purchase for my coffee table. Then, later, they told me that my poem had been one of the “few” selected to be recorded for their poetry CD, which I could purchase for my CD collection. Finally, they told me that I could attend their convention, hosted by Florence Henderson, for only $595 plus. Oh, and one of the nearby hotels was offering a special rate of $120 per night to International Society of Poets members. If I attended, I would receive a trophy consisting of a large silver bowl on a cherry wood pedestal (a $170 value!) I guess that means they would only clear about $400 on my at that convention.

(“Oh my gosh, Mr. Johnson. You mean Poetry.com is really just a vanity press? My word!”)

To be fair, there are a lot of great poems submitted to Poetry.com. It’s just too bad they will only be read by people who search for the poet’s name on the site or buy the overpriced books (and probably not even then.)