Saturday, March 28, 2009

Time for the Wergle Flomp deliberately-bad-poetry contest to die.

Like a lot of poets, I'm aware that some poetry contests are little more than con jobs that will publish your poem--in hopes you'll buy a pricey book that it is anthologized in. And the contests are designed to separate people from their money instead of being a measure of true poetic worth.

But the idea of the Wergle Flomp contest--write something deliberately "bad" to send to a con-job contest and then send it to more snide and asinine than good for the craft of poetry. Unfortunately, a lot of people enjoy the stick-pins-in sadism of Wergle Flomp because of the "I'm SO superior to you" virus in certain poets--particularly those with pretensions to literary worthiness.

If you go onto the Winning Writers website, take a look at their links regarding poetry contests. And refuse to go the Wergle Flomp route--so both the "con"tests and Winning Writers will get the message.

[UPDATE 3/29/09: Here's my response to the comment made by Adam of Winning Writers: Thanks for your letter, but I stand by my original post. Winning Writers' information on dubious contests should stand on its own without the throwing-of-literary-feces represented by Wergle Flomp.]

1 comment:

  1. Your critical energies are misdirected. Wergle Flomp is not the problem. The vanity contests are the problem, deceiving thousands of writers each year, wasting their time, wasting their money, and corrupting notions of quality. This phenomenon deserves much more attention than it gets from literary magazines and the mainstream press. Indeed, major newspapers are part of the problem, publishing ads for in their Sunday supplements.

    The Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest is a unique and effective outreach tool that has educated countless people about these deceptive marketers. There are over 25,000 subscribers on our free email newsletter list. Our website served over one million page views in 2008. The contest has generated a number of excellent humor poems, a genre which is underserved in today’s literary scene. Your assertion that the contest “is more snide and asinine than good for the craft of poetry” is without foundation. Writer’s Digest has named us as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for the last four years in a row, specifically singling out the Wergle Flomp contest for recognition:


    Winning Writers
    Gain access to 150 poetry contests by subscribing to its free e-newsletter (and more than 750 if you upgrade to its premium membership). Plus, enter its famous Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest, which searches for the “best humor poem that has been sent to a ‘vanity poetry contest’ as a joke.”

    Please also bear in mind that the Wergle Flomp contest is a charitable endeavor on our part, since we award cash prizes but charge no entry fee. Below are testimonials from individuals. I hope you will reconsider your opinion.


    Adam Cohen

    "I too fell victim to vanity. I entered a poem in [a certain bad contest] and thought it was the greatest thing ever when I became a finalist. I also unfortunately purchased the book my poem is going to be in. That was a $60.00 lesson I won't soon forget. But the damage that they did was to make me unsure about my work; I did email them and tell them what I thought. I'm sure that that keeps them up at night.... I should have known better to enter a contest where one of the entries was 'I like cheese, cheese is cool.' Anyway I just wanted to tell you that we are so grateful for a site that we feel we can trust."
    Darlene L. Levrier, visitor

    "Having recently been invited to the Poets convention by, 'for my merit as a poet', I am glad now that I didn't fly over from Belfast to Florida and waste my time, after reading your first-hand account. has recently sent me another copyright sheet but your website has put me off replying to their letter with anything more than a two-fingered insult. I will not be sending any more of my poetry, and your list of which competitions to avoid has helped. I thank you for your openness and honesty, we could do with more websites like yours."
    Catriona Holmes, visitor

    "My name is Jeff Mosley. I am a police officer, a martial arts instructor, and a poet. Considering my first two descriptions, you would think (as would I) that I would be a worldly, hardcore cynic and would not be susceptible to any scam of any fashion. But my third description leans to the romantic hopefulness that many of us have, so when I stumbled upon '' (aka—The International Library of Poetry—wow!) I immediately threw on some shoes and trekked up to the attic and dug out my stash of original, heartfelt poetry that I have written through the years. I picked one out and submitted it, already excited over the anticipated response and the prospect of picking up my pen again on my upcoming vacation.
    My next thought was 'Why stop there?' and I typed 'poetry contests' in my search engine. Much to my surprise, one of the most prominent returns was the 'poetry contest scams caution' by Wind Publications, which eventually led me to and to your email. I had no idea. I could have easily been sucked into buying a book or even taking a trip to see just how good my poetry really was! I have not spent a dime or received a letter (this is a mere 3 hours from my visit to, but I still feel somewhat cheapened by the fact that my work and words are on their website.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say 'thanks' to you and those like you who protect the uninformed from being taken by this and other scam artists who prey on our dreams. If this email can help anyone else, you may reprint it or use it as you will. My pen is coming out again, but for reputable sites like yours. I will also compose some more poetry for the 'International Library'... look for it in the Wergle Flomp poetry contest (after I read 'Flubblebop', 'Nicky Nacky Noo', and 'Yew Gotta Larf' I laughed so hard I woke my wife up from across the house)."
    Jeff Mosley, visitor

    "It's a relief to see a website that actually cares about the people it's trying to reach. I too, like many others I assume, have been taken for a ride by [bad poetry contests]. Thank you for giving people what they are really looking for, honest advice."
    Terry Johnson, visitor