Update: Are you trying to recover your poems? In April 2018, Poetry.com appeared to have stopped working.

Nearly a year and a half later, the site is still down, but there is now a splash page in place.


I’m not sure what happened to the original Poetry.com, but if you tried to visit the site in the past, you would have seen the following error:

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“Error establishing a database connection”

This is actually incredibly easy to fix, and the fact that it has remained there for years leads me to believe that Poetry.com has been abandoned, taking all of the poems posted there with it.

How to Recover Your Poems

I’ve come up with an idea that I think MIGHT work. I say MIGHT because I do not have any poems posted there and this is just all speculation.

Please, if you try this method and have found it to work, leave a comment below to help pass the news along to others.

Try this: Open up Poetry.com at Archive.org

Poetry.com at Archive.org

Archive.org takes snapshots of every single page on the Internet. They have approximately 461,880 pages saved from Poetry.com over the past 21 years.

I suggest picking a date near the mid 2017 as they were the most likely to load for me and see if you can find your public profile.

How to find missing poems

You WILL NOT be able to log in to your old account. Remember, this is just a snapshot of what the website looked like at a certain point in time. It is NOT a functioning website. The search feature will NOT WORK either.

You can also try opening poetry.com/poems/ to see the full list of poems.

If you happen to have a URL bookmarked where your poems were once stored, plug that URL directly into Archive.org instead.

This will be your best chance at recovering your old content.

I’m very sorry that you may have lost your hard work. I do hope you’re able to recover it.

Please let me know how it works out in the comments section below.

The rest of the article is the original article published here in 2009.

The most successful scams are the ones that appeal to your emotions.

They assure you that you can be better off than you currently are. Success, fame and fortune is just a click away.

Odds are you will be clicking away some of your money while receiving nothing in return.

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Poetry.com is no different.

The Scam Behind Poetry.com

Poetry.com allows you to submit your own poetic material for consideration in their international poetry competition.

In order to enter the contest, you have to also include your name and address.

Within days of submitting your poem, you will receive a letter in the mail praising you and your poetic ability.

Now to an unpublished author or someone looking to get started in this line of work, receiving a response is quite an accomplishment in itself, but to receive a response not only praising you for your work but naming you one of the best authors to ever submit a poem is extremely flattering.

The letter will also inform you that you have been chosen by a select panel of judges to be published in the next volume of poems put out by Poetry.com.

This is where the upsell begins as it all goes downhill.

In order for your work to be published, you have to purchase the book.

This isn’t stated, but it is indeed true.

Naturally, if you’re an aspiring writer, you’ll want to purchase a copy of your first published work.

Hell, you might end up buying a copy for your parents, significant other, friends, etc. The only thing is, the book costs anywhere between $50 and $75 or more if you want your poem on a single page.

After some time you will be given the option to buy a CD that includes your poem in a reading and you’ll even be invited to a convention where you’ll be awarded with some cheesy trophy or plaque.

Again, this is all at your expense.

This probably doesn’t sound all that bad right?


It’s terrible.

Poetry On-Demand

Poetry.com only sells these books to the people who submit the poems for their inclusion.

The books aren’t sold anywhere else in the world.

Anyone could write anything at all and Poetry.com will hail them as the next Shakespeare and tell you you’ll be included among prestigious poem anthologies.

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Previously, 20/20 did a news report where they had a class full of second graders write poems for the site.

Every single poem was accepted by their judges.

Poetry.com is making between 50-60 of these books per year with about 6,000 poems in each.

Given that the book costs about $75, they are making over $22,000,000 per year on book sales alone!

They give away one annual prize of $10,000 per year or about 0.0004% of their annual book sales. These guys are disgustingly cruel.

Fun with Poetry.com

Just to prove my point, I submitted this lovely piece entitled ‘Bird.’ It is a Steve original and I fully expect to win the $10,000 contest prize.

A bird sits on a windowsill.
Howl goes the wolf.
The bird flies away.
A pie replaces the bird.
The wolf steals the pie.
Pie wolf and bird meet in the woods.
Pie is had. All is good. The world is happy.

Immediately upon submitting my poem I was hit with an upsell. I could have my lovely poem engraved on a beautiful plaque for just $39 plus shipping!

What a steal.

I didn’t want to jump the gun and get this bad boy engraved right off the bat. I want to wait until it wins the $10,000 prize.

Since I chose not to purchase the plaque, the only other available option was to view “Special Offers” that were personally chosen for me.

Of course, this was all garbage as they were trying to collect my personal information to sell to companies.

Continuing past the special offers leads you back to the main page. There is no substance behind Poetry.com.

The site exists to gather as much of your personal information as possible in order to try and sell you garbage.

I’m anxiously awaiting my acceptance letter. I’ll be sure to post it as soon as I receive it.

In the meantime, see how you can actually get paid to write poems instead.

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Join the Discussion

  • Tonya Fotinos
    Tonya Fotinos

    I would just like to recover all my poetry that I sent to Poetry.com. Is there a way to do this at all?

  • Solomon P. Quincy-Tucker
    Solomon P. Quincy-Tucker

    I wrote poems between 2004 and 2006 buy could no longer trace them. Please help me retrieve them.

  • Scott Lee Crossfield
    Scott Lee Crossfield

    How do I recover my poems or get a copy of the book again. That my poems appeared in

  • Tamara

    I have several pieces I have placed on poetry.com and I can not find them I know two were in the archive and at least three that I posted around 2016 I can’t seem to find them help me. Please Tamara Jean Greenhalgh is the name they are listed under

  • Jannie Dunigan
    Jannie Dunigan

    I wrote poem on poetry.com do not have copy somewhere around 2001. Help me?

  • Alex

    Ahhhh, I always felt weird about getting those accolades for the poems I submitted in highschool. Never paid for anything. Too bad the website has gone down, even if it was a scam.

  • Katie

    I entered a poem in 2005 and of course received the letter, bought the book, etc… I was 17 and went to their competition in Las Vegas! It might have been a scam, but I had a great time and really enjoy the memories (turned my trio into an entire vacation)

    • Lynn

      Hi. Can that book still be purchased today? I have a couple poems in it. I regret not buying it when I had the opportunity.

    • Mr. Smith
      Mr. Smith

      Do you still have the book from the 2005 Vegas comp? Maybe you could upload it to google docs? I would like to purchase a copy.

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