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

I’m not sure what happened to Poetry.com, but if you try and load the site now, you will see the following error:

“Error establishing a database connection”

This is actually incredibly easy to fix, and the fact that it has remained there for 3 months now leads me to beleive 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.

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?

Wrong.

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.

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.

Join the Discussion

  • Sabaah
    Sabaah
    Reply

    I submitted 6-7 poems via snail mail back in 2005. One got published in the book. Never ordered it. Never went online to see either. Now I have realized that the other 5-6 poems submitted have been stolen/plagiarized by a singer. This person has made money off my poems. They were probably published online without my permission. I still have all the originals and I know when I wrote them (2001-2002). What do I do know? This singer is well known and has been sued before for stealing lyrics (but has so far managed to walk away from the theft). I have 2-3 former professors who did read these poems before they were published and can verify this. I don’t know what to do.

  • Sally Khan
    Sally Khan
    Reply

    Long time ago I posted about 7 poems, over 10 years
    I ordered 2 books with one of my poem in each for $45.00 a piece!
    Been trying a long time to get my Poems back, some time last year was was able to get into the site and copied a few, then the site was lost again.

    • Anita Cammisano
      Anita Cammisano

      I need my poems back from Poetry. Com. Many inner feelings were published on their website, mine from 2000 on. I’m distraught because my copies are gone.
      Anyone have any luck?

  • Ryan
    Ryan
    Reply

    My mother passed away may 24th this year…i go to poetry.com to retrieve her poems and the site is gone! Where are my mothers poems! I see a class action lawsuit coming!

  • Subas bista
    Subas bista
    Reply

    Poetry.com really took away all our poems and hardwork for ever.I too had more than 30 poems and haikus

    • Steve Razinski
      Steve RazinskiFounder

      Did you try any of my suggestions above? I think it may be possible to recover some of them if you are able to spend some time digging around.

  • Anita Rae Whetzel
    Anita Rae Whetzel
    Reply

    This site really hurt me! I had a lot of poems on there! Probably around 30 or so. I got into writing poems when I was a teenager, it helped me to write out my feelings and get rid of some of the pain inside that I could not deal with. Now that they have taken my poems, I feel like they have cut my heart open all over again! I can’t even explain it this is so upsetting. I had poems I had written about my loved ones that had passed, and they stole that from me!!! and someone should be held responsible for their actions. I poured my heart out into those poems and have lost the copies that I had of them except a few. So upset, so heart breaking. Is there anything at all that we can do to get our poems back??

  • Jayde
    Jayde
    Reply

    I was with poetry.com I have a tip instead of complaining about all the poems you sent and they “lost” should’ve done what I did send a copy in and have the original with you. No I never sent money or anything like that I received countless editor and awards and said it was in a book don’t know if it really was released or not to the public but honestly I am not made about it, it gave my inspiration to further my writing from Poetry to songs I have some books written in which Soon one of my books will available hopefully Nationwide through Barnes and Noble

    • Christopher
      Christopher

      I did have copies with me, unfortunately, those were lost as well. Poetry.com was my backup.

  • Chelsea
    Chelsea
    Reply

    Yeah, well…I was smart. Before they closed, I copied every single poem that I had from their website, and re-submitted and published my own poetry book through lulu.com. So…I still have all of my pieces fully intact…also, I have been writing poetry since I was 8 years old, so it’s nothing to me really…I have lost a lot of poems from various incidences. However, I never paid one single dime for any of their cheesy shit. You think I didn’t realize something was up about those award shows? I never went. I never bought anything from them. Ever. I was smart.

    • Kevin Beckstead
      Kevin Beckstead

      I was smart as well. I had back ups until my ex threw them all out when I was at work just because they were not written about her. I had also lent a binder to a friend to try and put music to some and she ended up throwing them out

  • Thomas Grove
    Thomas Grove
    Reply

    I used in around 2000. It revamped. And from 2010-2015 i used it alot.

    Probably 30-40 pieces gone.

  • Vindy Sidhu
    Vindy Sidhu
    Reply

    i had not received these sort of nonsense but my poems are being reviewed by other poets. bla bla bla. i do not give a damn by their scams. i just want my poems back.

  • Di
    Di
    Reply

    Are we all seriously screwed about getting our poetry back now that the site is gone. Those are literally the only copies left of my poetry. So angry right now.

  • Shane
    Shane
    Reply

    Does anybody have a contact for a content owner of the website owner? I am trying to remember the words to a second verse so i can write a song.

    Cheers

    • Tracey Howard
      Tracey Howard

      I had poems on there as well 1 of them is in my Mothers obituary I just went looking for the site and Google is saying they are blocking it. We need our poetrt back theres got to be some type of legal people we should talk to about this matter. We need a legit link to the website that bought #poetry.com like now. #HelpUs

  • lavonne ripley
    lavonne ripley
    Reply

    they have all my work for the last…..very many years…back when they were the world of poetry-a lifetime ago….newer ones have no copies…..I am a foolish old women ,indeed
    all I want is a print out copy

    • Marion
      Marion

      What happened to the site??? Does anyone know???

  • Maria Sheridan
    Maria Sheridan
    Reply

    My daughter passed away in 2003 and she had coptwritten Poe’s on that site. I would like to find them. I have hard copies of some of them but I want to make a book of them. I can’t find them in poetry.com but the copies I have, have that site at the bottom. Any suggestions?

  • Yeshi Gemaneh
    Yeshi Gemaneh
    Reply

    Wow! It is hard to believe that, Poetry.com started with convincing and attracted me with their approaches as a true communicators. As amateur poet, I submitted countless poems. Over the years I went through many things life could offer and all that and life long experiences all that was expressed in poetic way and submitted to Poetry.com, and they used for their benefit? That is very disappointing not getting any recognition, it seems all my effort is gone with astray. I will leave it to justice.

  • India
    India
    Reply

    I received a plaque years ago with my name, the name of my prom and a letter attached saying that my poem was copy written so no one could steal it. Crazy thing is I’ve been coming to this website since 2002 and I can not find my poem nor me as being author of the poem. I wrote forbidden love in 1999. Posted to this site in I believe 2000-2001. Where is my poem??

  • Alicia
    Alicia
    Reply

    It happen to me too. I send money that what the man told me to do. I waiting for the book it took a whole year to finally get the book I pay $75.00 for the book and send more money I forgot what it was for than he said he own my poem that I can’t publish my poem to a different company. It’s my poem I don’t give a fuck it’s my poem from my heart. I can’t believe that I had to buy my book.

  • antalas
    antalas
    Reply

    Hi, a certain Howard Ely stole my money too, I was waiting for my poem to be published by poetry.com, I called and sent emails, nobody answered, I sent a written letter and was returned within 2 weeks: address not found. I was always careful, but this time they got my skin, please if you read this do not give your money before u get the product.

  • Gail
    Gail
    Reply

    When I was 11 I wrote a poem for this site and back then I didn’t have my own email of course, so I submitted it under my mom’s email and nothing ever happened so I forgot about it. Two days ago I was looking at my mom’s email b/c I was trying to find a library notice or something and I found an email from this from like 2011 saying that I had won. I knew immediately that it was a scam, so I laughed at the fact that some dumb poem I had written had won something. Then I realized that I could access the poem I had written. It’s ridiculous that they won’t let you read your own work and I’m outraged at this scam!

  • Jacques
    Jacques
    Reply

    They also prey on songwriters now. http://www.songoftheyear.com http://www.songoftheyear.net does the same scam. The winners songs are far from what record labels and music publishers would take on board while they might sound ok to the amateur listeners. Everyone wins the top 50 being promised to be marketed on CD’s sent to record labels and music publishers. I actually do what they promise but obviously the CD’s are either laughed at when received by the professionals and simply thrown into the trash. But there don’t seem to be a law to stop them scammers because they do what they say, but you are being fooled.

  • Grace
    Grace
    Reply

    I was scammed back when I was 12 too. When they kept sending me letters urging me to buy CDs and seminar places (this was after I’d already paid for a book too!) even I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right.

    I recently found my poems online, without my permission! Thankfully, if you register and log in, you can find historical poems, and click ‘This is my original work – Claim this Poem’ or ‘This is my original work and I would like it removed from the database.’ The scary thing is, you can probably claim a complete stranger’s poem from the database too…

    • KATHLEEN HESELTINE
      KATHLEEN HESELTINE

      Do you recall where you found your poems? I need to locate my lost poetry and would love some tips or sources to try and find what I have lost.. Thanks for your help

  • Derek
    Derek
    Reply

    I submitted something years ago that I put myself into. They sent me an email telling me I didn’t win, but to enter for the following month. Makes me sad I can’t retrieve that shit.

  • island.reign
    island.reign
    Reply

    I too was scammed many years ago…I live in The Bahamas and I felt like I broke some sort of record! Lol! I thought that they were helping me copyright my poetry….it’s sad…If I had the money, I would have bought the book…and the mug….and the magnet….and…..sigh

  • IG
    IG
    Reply

    Oh thats nothing folks, I submitted a poem back in 2002 (when I was just 18 and had poetry flowing through my veins), when I was still living in India, and you won’t believe it – they invited me to attend their annual symposium in Washington DC, stating that my poem had made it right into the semi-finals. Being poor as I was, I couldn’t really afford the trip to DC, I asked them if they could sponsor my trip to the US. Never heard from them, and it’s only much later that I realized that I had almost been had. So, I guess, I’d never really know if my poem was any good :)

  • Joey
    Joey
    Reply

    So the funny thing about this scam is that me and my buddy turned in a poem at the exact same time. We bought two of the same books (but one in his name and one in my name) that they were said to have our poetry inside since we were supposedly published and copywritten. My book had my poem inside on one page. On the same exact page of my friends book, his poem was inside. But my poem wasn’t even in his book. So what they do is print a page with your poem to make it look like your cool and your published but your really not because nobody else is going to see that page. It’s pretty sad. I feel sorry for the dummies that buy into that bs.

  • Richard
    Richard
    Reply

    Yup, got me too. I really want my poem back. Any ideas?

  • KODES
    KODES
    Reply

    :( I bought a hard cover copy with a gold plate with my name engraved on the front book protector…. A YEAR AGO.
    It has never arrived.

  • cindy
    cindy
    Reply

    I can’t get access to my work either. It has been on poetry.com for years. I tried entering my email, which they should recognize and it isn’t working. I see some real legal issues with works disappearing.

    Does anyone know why the new site won’t let you access your old works.

  • alina noval
    alina noval
    Reply

    I WROTE AND COPY WRITED 30 POEMS OF MY OWN THAT I REALLY LIKED !IN THIS STUPID PLACE NOW I CAN’T GET MY WORK BACK ?. IT NOW LULU POETRY HOW CAN I GET MY WORK BACK WHERE IS POETRY.COM NOW?

  • amanda
    amanda
    Reply

    well maybe I am just gullable because I just tried to get on that website to print out all of the poems I have submitted in the past few years. I feel like an idiot because I decided that since my poems were going to be in a book..that I no longer needed to keep the original copy…now I just realized I lost all of those poems I wrote. I would love to find the jerks who made that website…they would get an ear full!!!

  • laura
    laura
    Reply

    I suspected most of this when I submitted a poem years ago. But I still wonder, is there really a 10,000 dollar prize? And if so, how is it assigned?

  • Bluerabbit
    Bluerabbit
    Reply

    You can delete them, actually. All you have to do is click on “revise”, then type something like,
    “This is not a poem
    I have decided
    to withdraw
    my work.”
    It will disappear soon.

  • Sarah
    Sarah
    Reply

    I fell pray to this abot 3 hours ago. I then went “omg too good to be true” AFTER I submitted. I just worry about my pretty poem. I still own it right? I won’t be buying a book of crappy poems or anything else for that matter. >_>

  • Sid
    Sid
    Reply

    there is no way to delete your poems too!!

  • Lime
    Lime
    Reply

    That’s actually one of the better poems I’ve read recently.

    Curse my pretentious-poetry-writing friends!

    Yeah, that’s pretty much all I have to add at the moment, except now I can also warn them about this site.

  • Raine
    Raine
    Reply

    Unfortunately, I fell victim to this site. They sent me a letters about my poem for inclusion in their book, the cd, (similar to what you mentioned here)and they even sent me a very bad “certificate” of Editor’s Choice Award with words overlapping each other. Sheesh.

  • Joe Gelb
    Joe Gelb
    Reply

    I was wondering if you could check out my website and tell me if it is a scam like this or not. My site is an online social community for business networking.

  • Kat
    Kat
    Reply

    Wow, these people have been around forever. Sadly, I have to admit, I’ve fallen victim to this scam. I remember submitting a poem to their website and then getting an email stating how wonderful my poem was. I told my Mother about it and she purchased one of the books.

    I’ve looked through the book… and admittedly, most of the poems are pretty bad. I got emails from them for a while, but I haven’t received anything in a few years.

    I actually thought these guys were legit, until one of my friends had sent in a poem and got the same result. He was telling everyone how he won. I thought it was pretty bad. >;)

    • Yeshi Gemaneh
      Yeshi Gemaneh

      I feel the same way. No justice? How could that happen? They were not legally, with a big name and countless participants. I don’t get it.

  • Kathy
    Kathy
    Reply

    They do the same kind of scam with photographers, they hit you up to submit a photograph and try to sell you the finished work in a published book, of course it costs plenty, and of course you would need additional copies to give to family and friends. So photographers beware…..

  • Jessie
    Jessie
    Reply

    These guys have been around for years. I’m surprised that they aren’t out of business yet. My mother had sent one of my poems to them back when I was about 13 or so. Wow…that was still the 90s when she did that. I think she might even had tried to buy one of their books but nothing ever arrived.

    I suggest we find their office if they have one and go stand outside with torches and pitchforks. :D

  • Halina
    HalinaAuthor
    Reply

    Hi Steve,

    I previously wrote an article about poetry.com and picture.com, in my Associated Content article http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/915171/wouldbe_photographers_and_poets_please.html?cat=15

    These sites are just big ol’ scams, like you mentioned. And that ABC 20/20 expose was the clincher- if a 2nd grader is capable of being a “talented” poet, then you know something ain’t right here.

    I still keep getting e-mails about my prize-winning poem and my great photo, which I long-ago submitted to these sites just for fun. What a crock. Thanks for warning us!

  • Patricia
    Patricia
    Reply

    Thanks for doing this investigation .I sent a poem years ago and got the same treatment .I did not fall for any of it and bought nothing.But I did beleive them untill to many people I knew got the same treatment.Then I got angry and dent in the stupidest poem ever.No mistaken this was an awful poemI even put a foul word in it. I got the same great praise for that one too. Thats when I knew for Sure .I felt like they were trying to make a fool of me. So Thanks for making this public and maybe people will not send them poems again.

  • Kandy
    Kandy
    Reply

    Hey Steve,

    I had a little fun with this site myself. I also submitted a silly poem. It was kinda cute though. I took it to work and told everybody I was a published author and everything. Of course, I knew it was just a scam from the start. I never bought any of their books or plaques. They sent me offers for about a year, then it finally stopped. Still, I kept the letters with my poem printed in them. Maybe I’ll frame one of them one of these days just for kicks, haha!!

  • Joe
    Joe
    Reply

    A Steve original. HA! That’s classic. I have seen this book. Not only is it expensive, but it is one of the crappiest, shoddiest books I have ever seen. It looks like the poems were copied and pasted (the old fashioned way) onto 8×11 paper, photocopied, and glued together. The one piece of layout work they did was to make all the poems in Courier font.

    And no joke, the poems are almost all as bad as Steve’s.

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