Poetry contest deceives woman - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Poetry contest deceives woman

September 4, 2002

Fitzgerald- Mary Mann wears her medallion proudly, because she says it makes her feel like an Olympic champion.

It says she's the 2002 'Most Famous Poet of the year', along with 600 other people. They all went to Disney World over the weekend for the Famous Poet convention.

"For me it was $495 dollars, $295 for a guest," Mann says.

She says she learned she'd been selected poet of the year after entering an online poetry contest a few weeks after writing her first ever poem at age 54.

"I was a little hesitant because I didn't know anything about it, and they wanted me signing my name to things," Mann said.

But when she got another letter with her name in print as the winner, she thought she'd realized a dream. The catch, she had to attend the convention, or else she couldn't get her awards. So she went, despite the hefty cost for a home health aide, only recently back to work after a car wreck.

We did a little research on famous poets, and other poetry contests, and found better business bureau and ripoff websites warning against it, because all investigations have shown they'll accept virtually every submission.

Then we had to break the news to Ms. Mann and her son, a preacher. "These people get you to come to convention, accept all the writings, buy their book, and they are basically just out for a buck,"  I told her.

The news tough for the family to take, but Mann says she won't let it keep her from her poetry, she'll just be a little more careful, and look into copywriting her own material. 

Beware of any contest where you have to pay money to win or be included in a published book. The contests aren't at all illegal, they just aren't very choosy in their winners. They deliver everything they promise, along with what they call a greater sense of excitement about your writing.

posted at 7:10 by dave.d'marko@walb.com