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Amateur Poetry Anthologies

A Guide to Finding Your Published PoemsLink disclaimer

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Bookstack
Photographic print,
1910-1930.
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Overview

The Library of Congress receives hundreds of requests each year from people seeking to find their poems. In some instances, people who registered their poetry with the U.S. Copyright Office want to know how to obtain a copy of it. Most often, however, people will ask the Library for assistance finding a poem that they, or one of their family members, submitted to a poetry contest. They typically note that the poem was published in a poetry anthology, and in addition to wanting the full text of the poem, request information about the anthology in which it appears.

Publishers of such amateur poetry anthologies typically run regular poetry contests publicized in newspapers, magazines, and on the Web. Almost every poem submitted to these contests is declared a "semifinalist" or "winner" and accepted for publication in a forthcoming anthology of winning poems. People are usually encouraged by the publisher to purchase a copy of the anthology in which their poem is slated to appear, and sometimes are notified that purchase of a copy is a requirement for their poem to be printed in the anthology. Publishers that require poets to pay to have their work published are known as vanity presses. The largest publisher of vanity poetry anthologies since 1980, and the one about which the Library of Congress receives the most inquiries, is the International Library of Poetry (ILP).

Many times, vanity presses such as the ILP attempt to link their anthologies to the Library of Congress, stating in letters or emails to contestants that their anthologies are stored or placed in the Library of Congress. Many people mistakenly assume this means that the Library of Congress has published or endorsed their poetry, which is not the case. Instead, this usually means that the anthologies are registered or deposited with the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress, which does not guarantee that the anthology will be held by the Library. In fact, most amateur poetry anthologies are not retained for the Library's permanent collections.

This guide describes many of the publishers that have run poetry contests whose winning poems were published in amateur poetry anthologies, and offers information on how to locate these anthologies at the Library of Congress, other libraries, and bookstores. Many publisher entries include links to WorldCat, a global library catalog that can be used to identify libraries that hold copies of anthologies. Alternative names for publishers, their years of activity, and details about their publishing practices are provided when possible. If you believe your poem was published by one of these companies, please contact the Library's Digital Reference Section with all available details regarding your poem (publisher; publication date; anthology title; poem title; name under which the poem was published; etc.) for further assistance locating it.

Please note that the Library of Congress does not attempt to assess the legitimacy of the publishers listed below, and their inclusion in this guide does not represent an endorsement of their activities or publications. The Academy of American Poets Web site provides information on how to determine whether a poetry contest is legitimate and how to identify questionable contests and publishers. Standard practices of vanity anthology publishers are discussed on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Web site.

Sections

 

Amateur Poetry Contest Publishers

Publisher: The America Library of Poetry
Years of operation: 1998-present
Web site: http://www.libraryofpoetry.com/

The America Library of Poetry (Houlton, Me.) runs a Student Poetry Contest open to students in grades 3-12 in the United States and Canada. The Library of Congress does not hold any anthologies published by the America Library of Poetry. Anthology titles listed in WorldCat include Brilliance; Gifted; and Impressions of Youth. Other titles (e.g., The Gold Edition and Inspired) are listed on the publisher's winning entries Web page. See its Better Business Bureau file for further information.

Publisher: American Poetry Association
Years of operation: 1982-1990
Sample advertisements: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990

The American Poetry Association (Santa Cruz, Calif.) published The American Poetry Anthology between 1982 and 1989. Three to five volumes were published each year. A 1984 article in The Milwaukee Journal notes that the name of the series editor, John Frost, was a pseudonym used for the company's entire editorial staff. Beginning with vol. 8, no. 3 (1988), the editor name John Frost was replaced with the name Robert Nelson. Contest entrants were required to buy at least one copy of the anthology to ensure their poem's publication. Volumes include an author index. The Library of Congress holds all volumes through vol. 9, no. 4 (1989).

The American Poetry Association also published a Best New Poets of ... anthology (the Library holds volumes for 1986-1989) and several other publications, some of which are held by the Library. Other publications are listed in WorldCat.

Publisher: The Amherst Society
Years of operation: ca. 1990-2001

The Amherst Society published the American Poetry Annual from approximately 1990 to 2001. None of its anthologies are held by the Library of Congress. A list of Amherst Society titles held by libraries can be found through WorldCat. Winners of Amherst Society contests would often be nominated for the Emily Dickinson Award, or would receive a Certificate of Poetic Achievement.

Publisher: Anthology of Poetry, Inc.
Years of operation: 1989-present
Web site: http://www.anthologyofpoetry.com/

Anthology of Poetry, Inc. (Asheboro, N.C.) has published an annual Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans since 1990. Its Web site indicates that "approximately 55% of the submissions are selected for publication." Purchasing a book is not a requirement for publication. K-12 students are eligible for publication. The Library of Congress does not hold any Anthology of Poetry, Inc., anthologies. Many volumes are listed in WorldCat. View its Better Business Bureau file for contact details.

Publisher: Arcadia Poetry Press
Years of operation: 1992-1995
Sample advertisements: 1992, 1993, 1994

Arcadia Poetry Press (Oklahoma City, Okla.) ran the "Poetic Achievement Awards" poetry contest and published the Arcadia Poetry Anthology, a five-volume set, from 1992 to 1995. Volume five is titled American Poetry Anthology. The Library of Congress holds all five volumes.

Publisher: Circle of Poets
Years of operation: ca. 2004-2007
Additional names not affiliated with poetry: Circle of Photographers
Archived version of Web site: http://www.circleofpoets.com

Circle of Poets (Montreal, QC, Canada) published poetry anthologies from approximately 2005 to 2007. The title of its 2005 anthology is Poetry Vibes. An archived page from its Web site describes its 2005 publications as follows: "These manuscripts all have a high quality with premium, bounded paper. The manuscripts contain professional illustrations and contain all selected 2005 entries from finalists. We clearly display your name and poem title as well as comments you may have on the making of your winning poem." The Library of Congress does not hold any Circle of Poets anthologies, nor are any listed in WorldCat.

Publisher: Creative Communication, Inc.
Also known as: Poetic Power
Years of operation: 1997-present
Sample advertisements: 2002; 2006; 2008; 2009
Web site: http://www.poeticpower.com/

Creative Communication (Smithfield, Utah) runs semiannual poetry and essays contests for students. Anthologies of winning poems are published three times a year (fall, spring, summer) under the title A Celebration of Poets. Purchase is not required for publication. The Poetic Power Web site notes that "being invited to be published means that your entry was in the top 45% of the entries for your area." More details are available on its Frequently Asked Questions page. View its Better Business Bureau file for further information.

Creative Communication has also published, under the name PoetTree Press (http://www.poettreepress.com), the anthology Broken Hearts...Healing: Young Poets Speak Out on Divorce, comprised of poems submitted to Creative Communication poetry contests.

The Library of Congress holds only one Creative Communication publication: A Celebration of Young Poets, New York, Spring 2003. A number of other anthologies are listed in WorldCat.

Publisher: Dover Beach Poetry Press
Years of Operation: 1994

Dover Beach Poetry Press (Newport Beach, California) published at least two amateur poetry anthologies in 1994: Golden Dreans: An Anthology of Modern Poetry, which is held by the Library of Congress, and Shadows in Moonlight, listed in WorldCat. Both volumes are edited by Alan Sawyer.

Publisher: Eber & Wein, Inc.
Also known as: Poetry Nation
Years of operation:
2008-present
Web sites: http://www.eberandwein.com/ ; http://www.poetrynation.com/

Eber & Wein (Shrewsbury, Pa.) began sponsoring an "open amateur poetry contest," also referred to as a "National Amateur Poetry Contest," in 2008; its first anthology, Verses & Visions: A New Day, was published in 2009. The Library of Congress does not hold any Eber & Wein publications; several titles are listed in WorldCat. According to Eber & Wein's poetry contest page, book purchase is not necessary for a poem's publication, though the publisher reserves the right not to publish a poem for any reason. View its Better Business Bureau file for additional information.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, the president of the company is Rachel Mueck, who may be related to Eric Mueck, a former employee of the International Library of Poetry.

Eber & Wein publications share the same ISBN prefix (978-1-60880) as World Poetry Movement publications. In addition, the subscription database Global Books in Print indicates that World Poetry Movement anthologies are published by Eber & Wein. Consequently, the two companies appear, at the least, to be affiliated.

Publisher: Famous Poets Society
Web sites: http://www.famouspoets.com/ ; http://www.freecontest.com/ ; http://www.friendlypoets.com
Also known as: Bards of Burbank, The Berkely Bards, Celestial Arts, Famous Poetry Society, The Florida Literary Guild, Free Poetry Contest, Hollywood's Famous Poets, International Library of Famous Poets, Living Poets Hall of Fame, New Jersey Rainbow Poets, New York Poetry Alliance, Reno Fine Arts Institute, Texas Poetry Alliance
Years of operation: 1994-present
Sample advertisements: 1993; 1994; 1995; 1997; 1998; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2005;

The Famous Poets Society (currently located in Talent, Oreg.) has published poetry anthologies since 1994. Participants often receive awards such as the Poet of the Year Medallion and the Shakespeare Trophy of Excellence. The Library of Congress does not hold any of this company's anthologies, though WorldCat lists records for several anthologies held by other libraries. View its Better Business Bureau file for contact details.

Some individuals have linked the Famous Poets Society to John Campbell, editor of the now defunct World of Poetry Press.

Publisher: Greenspring Publishing
Years of operation: 2009
Archived version of Web site: http://www.greenspringpublishing.com/

According to an archived version of its Web site, Greenspring Publishing (Greenspring, Md.) published an anthology series titled Whisperings - A Collection of Short Poems. One of the anthologies it published, possibly from this series, is Whispers. The Library of Congress does not hold any anthologies published by Greenspring Publishing, nor are any of its titles listed in WorldCat. The publisher's Better Business Bureau file includes its former address.

Greenspring Publishing may have been affiliated with another Maryland company, the League of American Poets: Greenspring Publishing has indicated that two of its anthologies are Inspirations and Reflections - A Collection of Short Works, both of which are titles also published by the League of American Poets.

Publisher: Iliad Press
Also known as: Cader Publishing; Iliad Literary Awards Program; National Authors Registry; PoetsOnly.Com; Stamford Research, LLC
Years of operation: 1989-present
Sample advertisements: 1994; 1995
Archived versions of Web sites: http://www.cader.com; http://poetsonly.com/

Iliad Press (an imprint of Cader Publishing, Ltd., Troy/Sterling, Mich.) published poetry anthologies from approximately 1990 to 2004. It ran several poetry contests each year as part of its Iliad Literary Awards Program. Its anthologies usually provide background information about the activities of Iliad Press. For example, the 1995 anthology Musings notes:

Iliad Press sponsors four literary competitions per year. Each competition presents awards to 100 winners. Iliad Press offers a $1,000 grand prize and 99 other cash and/or merchandise prizes. Non-winning entries which are believed to be of particular note and merit are awarded an Honorable Mention. No purchase or entry fee is required for the first entry in the Competition. Contest rules are subject to change without notice. All winners are selected by an independent panel of judges. Contests run continuously, four per year.

The Library of Congress holds a number of Iliad Press anthologies from 1990 to 1996; other libraries that hold anthologies can be identifies through two lists in WorldCat. Iliad Press anthologies include an author index.

Cader Publishing also ran a quarterly literary competition called the Laureates Program. Winning poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from the contest was published in its Verses magazine.

According to a 2003 version of the PoetsOnly.Com Web site, the former owner of Cader Publishing, Al(bert) Case, also owned Stamford Research, LLC, and PoetsOnly.Com. In 2003, Stamford Research and Cader Publishing merged. See Cader Publishing's Better Business Bureau file for additional company information.

Publisher: International Library of Poetry (ILP)
Also known as: International Poetry Hall of Fame; International Society of Poets; National Library of Poetry; Noble House Publishers (likely affiliate); Poetry.com; Watermark Media Group, Inc.; Watermark Press
Additional names not affiliated with poetry: Arts and Kids; International Library of Photography; International Society of Photography; Picture.com
Sample advertisements: 1991; 1991; 1992; 1993; 1994; 1995; 1996; 1997; 2000; 2003; 2005; 2007
Years of operation: 1988-2009

The International Library of Poetry (Owings Mills, Md.) was the best-known publisher of vanity poetry anthologies between 1988 and 2009. If you submitted your poem to a poetry contest during these years and it was selected for publication in a poetry anthology, there is a good chance that your poem was published by the ILP. The ILP was run by the company Watermark Media Group, Inc. During the 1980s and 1990s, the ILP operated primarily through surface mail; in 1997, it began running the Web site Poetry.com. In March 2009, the ILP went out of business, and the Poetry.com domain (not the business) was purchased by the self-publishing company Lulu. On May 4, 2011, the Poetry.com Web site was closed by Lulu. Archived versions of the Poetry.com Web site are available through the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. In May 2011, the Poetry.com domain was acquired by a Delaware company, Newton Rhymes, LLC. In January 2012, Newton Rhymes relaunched the Poetry.com Web site to include a searchable database of poems submitted to previous incarnations of Poetry.com. You can search this database for your poems by registering (for free) with Poetry.com. Searching the database is your best optoin for locating your submitted poems.

If your poem was published in an ILP anthology, unless you know the title or ISBN of the volume in which your poem was published, it will prove difficult, if not impossible, to find your poem in print. This is because poems published by the ILP are not indexed in any source; the only way to locate a particular poem in an anthology is to review the author index at the back of the book. Compounding the problem, the ILP printed different poems in each copy of an anthology it published. Consequently, even if you know in which anthology your poem is published, your poem may not appear in every copy, or even in most copies.

There are several resources you can use to find the titles of previously published ILP anthologies. First, you can review an archived version of the Poetry.com Web site for a list of many ILP publications from 1996 to 2003. Second, the Library of Congress holds a number of ILP anthologies from 1988-1999 in its collections. You can find a list of these anthologies (sort the list by publication date for easier browsing) through the Library's online catalog. Third, you can find two extensive lists of ILP publications (list one: publisher name "International Library of Poetry"; list two: publisher name "National Library of Poetry") through WorldCat.

Publisher: JMW Publishing
Years of operation: ca.1988-2008
Archived version of Web site: http://www.jmwpublishing.com/

JMW Publishing (Blue Springs, Mo.) published several series and standalone volumes between approximately 1995 and 2008, including the series Passages in Time; Prominent Voices in Poetry; Reflections; Seasons of Change; Timepieces; and Visions. The Library of Congress does not hold any JMW publications; listings for some titles are available through WorldCat. JMW's president was Jim Wyzard; see its Better Business Bureau file for a complete address. JMW Publishing may have been affiliated with amateur poetry publisher American Press (Odessa, Mo.). One American Press title can be found through WorldCat.

Publisher: League of American Poets
Also known as: American Poets Society, Inc.; Gem Printing; PoetryAmerica.com; White Oak Press
Years of operation: ca. 1999-2006
Archived version of Web site: http://www.poetryamerica.com/

The League of American Poets (Baltimore, Md.) published several series, including Treasury of American Poetry; Inspirations: A Collection of Short Works; Reflections: A Collection of Short Works; and Expressions: A Collection of Short Works. The Library of Congress does not hold any League of American Poets anthologies, nor do any appear to be listed in WorldCat. View its Better Business Bureau file here.

Publisher: McGregor Hill Publishing
Sample news item: 1996
Years of operation: ca. 1980s-2000

McGregor Hill Publishing (Tampa, Fla.) published an Annual High School Poetry Anthology. A record for the title can be found through WorldCat. The Library of Congress holds only The 12th Annual High School Poetry Anthology (1996). This edition notes that more than 6,000 poems were submitted to the contest for inclusion in the volume. The book does not include an author index, and is arranged primarily by state. Award-winning poems and honorable mentions are included in several sections at the front.

Publisher: National High School Poetry Association
Also known as: American Poetry Press; American Poetry Society; National Essay Press; National High School Poetry Association; National High School Poetry Press, National Poetry Association; National Poetry Press; Poetry Society of America
Years of operation: 1937-ca. 1983

The best-known publisher of high school poetry anthologies during the mid-20th century was the National High School Poetry Association (Los Angeles, Calif.).  The NHSPA's earliest anthology series, The Young West Sings: Anthology of California High School Poetry (1938-1942), features poetry published by California high school students only.  In 1940, it began publishing The Young Northwest Sings, which includes poems from high schools in Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Two national anthology series soon followed: Young America Sings (1942-ca. 1979) and Songs of Youth (1943-ca. 1962).  Young America Sings was sometimes referred to as the Annual Anthology of High School Poetry, and was published in many regional editions each year (for example, in 1959 there were 25 regional editions of the anthology).  Sample subtitles for regional editions of Young America Sings include:

…Anthology of Atlantic States High School Poetry
…Anthology of Great Lakes States Denominational High School Poetry
…Anthology of Illinois-Minnesota High School Poetry
…Anthology of Midwest States High School Poetry
…Anthology of Northeastern High School Poetry
…Anthology of Mountain and Northwestern States High School Poetry
…Anthology of New York High School Poetry
…Anthology of Southern High School Poetry
…Anthology of Texas High School Poetry
…Anthology of Western States Denominational High School Poetry
…Fall Anthology, Midwest States High School Poetry
…Spring Anthology, Ohio, Pa., Lakes High School Poetry
…Spring Anthology, Southeast High School Poetry
…Spring Semester Anthology of Ohio High School Poetry

The annual Songs of Youth anthology (published in different years under the imprints Poetry Society of America, American Poetry Press, and American Poetry Society), appears to have compiled selected poems from the regional Young America Sings anthologies. The 1943 volume of the anthology notes that "the selections herein were judged to be the finest of thousands of entries submitted to the National High School Poetry Association, from whom we received permission to reprint."
  
Under the imprints National Poetry Association and National Poetry Press, the publisher ran a similar poetry contest for college students from 1944 to 1983.  Winning poems from 1944 to 1975 were published in the serial America Sings (according to WorldCat, alternative titles include: Biennial College Poetry Review, fall 1968-fall 1970; Young America Sings, spring 1971; and College Poetry Review, spring 1972-1975).  From 1976 to 1983, winning poems were published in the serial College Poetry Review (Agoura, Calif.). Selected poems published in these serials were, with the permission of the author, reprinted in the anthology series Pegasus (ca. 1964 to 1983).

The National Poetry Association also published a National Poetry Anthology from 1949 to approximately 1971 comprised of poems submitted by teachers and librarians, and several compilations of student poetry selected for publication in previous years’ anthologies under the title Voice of Young America.

The Library of Congress holds a number of anthologies by the NHSPA/National Poetry Association. These include:

America Sings: Annual Anthology of College Poetry (vols.: 1944; 1945)
National Poetry Anthology (vols.: 1949; 1950)
Songs of Youth: A National Anthology (1943)
Young America Sings: 1942 Anthology of Private Secondary School Poetry
The Young Northwest Sings: 1941 Anthology of Northwest High School Poetry
The Young West Sings: Anthology of California High School Poetry (vols.: 1938; 1939; 1941)

The Library also holds several standalone works published by the National Poetry Association, including the reference books Rhyming Dictionary: A Dictionary of Rhymes (1949), Dictionary of Poetry Terms (1959), and Writing Poetry: A Beginner's Guide (1961), as well as the anthology Poetry for Holidays (1953), which according to the anthology's editor includes selections from "the close to 400 annual regional anthologies that we have published during the last sixteen years...that can be used for classroom work, on all the holidays that occur during the year."

To locate all NHSPA titles through WorldCat, conduct searches on all of the names and imprints under which it was published.

Publisher: The Poetry Center
Years of operation: 1987-ca. 1991
Sample advertisements: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991

The Poetry Center (Orinda, California) published the anthology series Many Voices, Many Lands under the imprint of Shoestring Press. The Library of Congress holds vol.1, no. 1 (Summer 1987). The editor of the series is "Will Stratford" (perhaps a pun on William Shakespeare). WorldCat lists several libraries that hold vol. 1, no. 2., and vol. 2, no. 1. Other titles published by the Poetry Center are also listed through WorldCat.

Publisher: The Poetry Guild
Years of operation: ca. 1995-1998
Sample advertisements:
1996; 1997; 1998
Archived version of Web site: http://www.poetry-guild.com/

The Poetry Guild (New York, N.Y.) offered up to twenty poetry contests each year. Anthologies were edited by Jef Sturm or Terence Troon. You can view titles and publication information for many Poetry Guild anthologies through Google Books. In 1999, the Poetry Guild merged with the International Library of Poetry. The Library of Congress does not hold any anthologies published by the Poetry Guild.

Publisher: Poetry in Print, Ltd.
Also known as: PIBI, Ltd. (1996)
Years of Operation: ca. 1996-2007

Poetry in Print (Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK) published amateur poetry anthologies between approximately 1997 and 2007. The publisher locations given for anthologies are Huntingdon and Paignton. A number of titles are listed through Google Books. The Library of Congress does not hold any Poetry in Print publications; several tiles held by other libraries are listed in WorldCat.

Publisher: Poetry Institute of Africa
Years of 0peration: ca. 1997-present
Sample advertisements: 2004
Archived version of Web site: http://www.poetry.co.za

The Poetry Institute of Africa (Scottburgh, KZN, South Africa) has published poetry anthologies from approximately 1997 to present. The semiannual contests, which accept poems in English or Afrikaans, are open only to African citizens. The Library of Congress holds two Poetry Institute of South Africa anthologies: Different Horizons: An Anthology of African Verse and Under African Skies: An Anthology of African Verse. A list of other anthologies held by libraries--the most recent from 1997--can be found through WorldCat. The current owner of the Poetry Institute of Africa is Joann Joubert.

Publisher: Poetry Institute of Australia
Years of operation: ca. 2003-2006
Sample advertisements: 2005
Archived version of Web site: http://www.poetryinstitute.com/

The Poetry Institute of Australia (Cleveland, QLD, Australia) ran one or more poetry contests each year from 2003 to 2006. In 2004, it began running student poetry contests: a Junior School contest for children ages 12 and under, and a High School contest for students ages 13 to 18. According to the publisher, no fee was required to ensure inclusion of winning poems in an anthology.

Poetry Institute of Australia anthologies include Lost in Thought, Reflections: Anthology of Verse, and Opal Shores, as well as the student anthologies Symphony of Stars and Mud Puddle and Dandelions. The Library of Congress does not hold any of these titles; several are listed in WorldCat.

Publisher: Poetry Institute of Canada
Also known as: Canadian Poetry Institute; Young Writers of Canada
Years of operation: 1993-present
Sample advertisements: 2008
Web sites: http://www.poetryinstitute.shawbiz.ca/ ; http://www.youngwritersofcanada.ca

The Poetry Institute of Canada (Victoria, BC, Canada) offers poetry and short story contests for adults and children. Contests exclusively for children and young adults are offered through the Young Writers of Canada Web site. Titles of anthologies can be found through the online bookstores available through the Poetry Institute's main Web site, as well as its Web site for young writers. Both sites note: "Approximately 40% of all poems or stories are not accepted in each of these contests. Poets and authors whose poem or story has not been selected to appear in the anthologies are not obliged to buy the publication." See its Better Business Bureau file for further details.

The Library of Congress holds only one anthology published by the Poetry Institute of Canada, Island Journeys: An Anthology of Canadian Verse (1996). Other titles held by libraries are listed in WorldCat.

Publisher: Poetry Unlimited
Years of operation:
ca. 1990-1994

Poetry Unlimited (Mt. Pleasant, Tex.) published several poetry anthologies during the 1990s, none of which are held by the Library of Congress. Only one anthology, Ages & Stages, is listed in WorldCat. Other possible titles include Skyline, Sweetheart, Ages & Stages, Dreams, Changing Times, Shadows, and Echoes of the Soul.

Publisher: Quill Books
Also known as: Poetry Publications (until 1982)
Years of operation: ca. 1981-2002

Quill Books published numerous amateur poetry anthologies from approximately 1981 to 2002. Its first anthology, released under the publisher name Poetry Publications, was Reflections from Tranquil Waters: A Collection of Verse By Minnesotans. In the early 1990s, Quill Books moved its offices from Minot, North Dakota, to Harlingen, Texas. Many of its titles consist of multiple volumes published over several years (e.g., Treasure the Moment includes at least eleven volumes published between 1996 and 1997). Volumes include an author index.

The Library of Congress holds two Quill Books titles, Down Peaceful Paths (v. 11, 1991) and Echoes of Silence (v. 13, 1996). Other titles held by libraries can be found in two lists from WorldCat.

Publisher: Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum, Inc.
Also known as: Prospect Publishers, Inc.
Years of operation: 1987-2001
Sample advertisements: 1988, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999

Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum, Inc. (Sistersville, W.Va.), published two series of poetry anthologies during the 1980s and 1990s: Treasured Poems of America (ca. 1989-1996) and Poetic Voices of America (ca. 1988-1999). The Library of Congress holds near-complete runs of both series. A list of Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum titles held by other libraries can be found through WorldCat. The final Sparrowgrass poetry anthology was published in 2000. Sparrowgrass noted in many of its contest advertisements that “anthology purchase may be required to ensure publication," so if you did not purchase an anthology at the time your poem won a contest, it may not have been published. Its anthologies include an author index that can be checked for confirmation. Winners of a Sparrowgrass contest would often receive a Distinguished Poet Award.

The parent company of Sparrowgrass was Prospect Publishers (Oklahoma City, Okla.). An archived version of its Web site can be viewed through the Internet Archive. According to an October 2001 press release from West Virginia's Office of the Attorney General, the company was being forced to pay more than four thousand dollars in refunds to consumers who ordered but never received its poetry anthologies. The press release further notes that "company President Jerome Welch says the publisher experienced an unanticipated decline in business and financial problems making it unable to fill orders placed early this year."

Publisher: World of Poetry Press
Years of operation: 1975-1992
Names of selected contests: Great American Poetry Contest, Free Poetry Contest
Sample advertisements: 1987, 1989, 1992

World of Poetry Press began as a newsletter on August 1, 1975. Its two staff members at the time were Eddie-Lou Cole, Poetry Editor, and John Campbell, Editor & Publisher. World of Poetry Press sponsored as many as one dozen contests each year, typically awarding a grand prize of $1,000, with up to a hundred prizes totaling $10,000 or more. Winners were often told they won the "Golden Poetry Award." Its anthologies include an author index.

The Library of Congress holds five anthologies published by World of Poetry Press: The World's Great Contemporary Poems (1981); Our Twentieth Century's Greatest Poems (1982), Today's Greatest Poems (1983), Our World's Most Beloved Poems (1984), and Selected Works of Our World's Best Poets (1992). A list of other World of Poetry Press titles held by libraries can be found through WorldCat.

Publisher: World Poetry Movement
Also known as: PoetryMillions.com
Years of Operation:
2010-present
Web site: http://www.worldpoetrymovement.com/ ; http://www.poetrymillions.com/ ; http://www.importantpoets.com

Note: As of February 10, 2014, the World Poetry Movement Web site is non-responsive. In addition, its affilated PoetryMillions.com Web site is no longer active. It is unclear whether this indicates that the World Poetry Movement is still active. The most recent World Poetry Movement anthology, according to the Books in Print database, was published in June 2013.

The World Poetry Movement (Park City, Utah) runs an "International Open Amateur Poetry Contest." According to its contest rules (archived by the Internet Archive), entrants "may . . . be eligible for the one-time publication of his or her poem by the World Poetry Movement in a hardbound volume and on the Internet." Two recent World Poetry Movement series, published in multiple volumes, are Stars in Our Hearts and Great Poets Across America: A Celebration of National Poetry Month. Other titles include Best Poets and Poems Of 2012 and Best Poets and Poems Of 2012.

In 2012, the World Poetry Movement's most popular anthology may have been International Who's Who in Poetry 2012. The Library of Congress has fielded numerous requests about this anthology series. Many users who submitted poems to the World Poetry Movement's main Web site appear to have been selected for publication in this anthology. In addition, the ImportantPoets.com Web site, which seems affiliated with the World Poetry Movement, has allowed users to submit poems for publication in a volume of this series. Finally, it appears that some people who have previously submitted their poems to amateur poetry contests sponsored by other companies, such as the International Library of Poetry, received direct emails inviting them to submit a poem for inclusion in this series. The name of the chief editor of the series is Judy Lynn. According to the subcription database Books in Print, at least one volume of International Who's Who in Poetry 2012 was compiled by "Poetry Productions." The address provided to users solicicted for contribution to this series is frequently:

International Who's Who in Poetry
4470 W. Sunset Blvd. Suite 451
Los Angeles, CA 90027

In emails to users about purchasing a World Poetry Movement (WPM) anthology, WPM staff may provide publication information for an anthology that notes the title's ISBN with the introductory phrase "Library of Congress ISBN." While this may appear to indicate that the Library of Congress is affiliated with the book, or has issued it an ISBN, this is not the case. The Library of Congress does not assign ISBNs to books; any U.S. publisher may purchase an ISBN through U.S. ISBN Agency. The Library of Congress, in fact, does not hold any World Poetry Movement anthologies. In addition, none are listed in WorldCat. For further information, view the WPM's Better Business Bureau file. The file (last checked December 11, 2012) indicates that "On August 7, 2012 this company's accreditation in BBB was revoked by BBB's Board of Directors due to failure to maintain minimum BBB Rating."

Through the PoetryMillions.com Web site, which is no longer active, the World Poetry Movement has offered a number of poetry contests centered on a specific topic or person, especially celebrities (e.g., Lady Gaga, Natalie Portman, and Justin Bieber).

World Poetry Movement publications share the same ISBN prefix (978-1-60880) as Eber & Wein publications. In addition, the subscription database Global Books in Print indicates that World Poetry Movement anthologies are published by Eber & Wein. Consequently, the two companies appear, at the least, to be affiliated.

Finding Amateur Poetry Anthologies in Libraries and Bookstores

Amateur poetry anthologies are held by few libraries, and are rarely available for sale on the shelves of brick-and-mortar bookstores. Most amateur poetry publishers, especially vanity presses, sell their anthologies directly to winning contest entrants, and do not market their publications to libraries or bookstores. On occasion, a library will acquire an anthology at the request of a library member whose work is published in it, or a bookstore will agree to carry one or two hard copies at the request of a customer.

To identify libraries that hold a copy of an amateur poetry anthology, your best option is to search WorldCat, a global library catalog that lists materials held by approximately 72,000 libraries from 170 countries and territories around the world. WorldCat's Advanced Search page allows users to search for materials using a variety of criteria, including author, title, ISBN, publication date, and keyword. If you locate a record for an amateur poetry anthology through WorldCat, you can enter your zip code or location in the record's "Enter your location" box to bring up a list of libraries that should hold the book. You, or a librarian at your local library, can then contact the holding library to see whether its copy of the anthology includes your poem.

If you would like to purchase a copy of an amateur poetry anthology, your best option is usually to check for copies available through bookstore databases such as AddALL Used and Out of Print Book Search, Alibris, Amazon.com, and BookFinder.com. If the anthology publisher is still active, you can contact the publisher directly to see if it is possible to purchase a copy through it.

Important note on the printing of poems: A common practice of some vanity press poetry publishers--the International Library of Poetry is one example--is to print different poems in each copy of anthology they publish. Consequently, even if you know the title and other publication details for the anthology in which your poem was published, your poem may not have been printed in every copy; in some instances, the only copy that will include your poem is the one you purchase directly from the publisher. Typically, the only way to verify that a particular copy includes your poem is to check its author index. Since your poem may appear in only one or two copies out of dozens available through libraries and bookstores, conducting a thorough search for your poem may require you to contact all libraries and bookstores that hold the anthology in which your poem is supposed to appear. Unfortunately, even a thorough search does not guarantee that you will find your poem.

 

Created by Peter Armenti, Digital Reference Specialist

 

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  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  February 25, 2014
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