Manual Journey: A Book of Poems

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Prints and Photographs Division.

Naomi Shihab Nye

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.

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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.

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Publishers that require poets to pay to have their work published are known as vanity presses. The largest publisher of vanity poetry anthologies since , 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. 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.

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 website provides information on how to determine whether a poetry contest is legitimate and how to identify questionable contests and publishers. Other titles e. See its Better Business Bureau file for further information. Publisher: American Collegiate Publications Years of operation: The anthology features poets from colleges and universities in 47 states. Each entry includes a brief biography of the poet along with a sample poem. Although the volume was supposed to be the first volume in an annual series, and the company advertised its contest , no further volumes appear to have been published.

Publisher: American Poetry Association Years of operation: Sample advertisements: , , , Three to five volumes were published each year. A 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. Contest entrants were required to buy at least one copy of the anthology to ensure their poem's publication. Volumes include an author index.


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The Library of Congress holds all volumes through vol. Other publications are listed in WorldCat. Publisher: The Amherst Society Years of operation: ca. 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. Publisher: Anthology of Poetry, Inc. Anthology of Poetry, Inc. Asheboro, N. K students are eligible for publication. Many volumes are listed in WorldCat. View its Better Business Bureau file for contact details.


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Publisher: Arcadia Poetry Press Years of operation: Sample advertisements: , , Volume five is titled American Poetry Anthology. The Library of Congress holds all five volumes. Publisher: Circle of Poets Years of operation: ca. The title of its anthology is Poetry Vibes. An archived page from its website describes its publications as follows: "These manuscripts all have a high quality with premium, bounded paper.

The manuscripts contain professional illustrations and contain all selected 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. Publisher: Creative Communication, Inc. 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.

View its Better Business Bureau file for further information.

Journey to Nowhere

Minnesota and Wisconsin A number of other anthologies are listed in WorldCat. Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co. Sample Advertisements: : Years of operation: present ca. From to , Dorrance Publishing Co. Pittsburgh, Pa.

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For the four contests held each year in and , winners were guaranteed publication in a Contemporary Poets of America and Britain anthology, although non-winners could purchase an anthology to guarantee their poems would be appear in it. Only one anthology appears to have been published each year: a Fall anthology and a Winter anthology. An ad for the only volume published in states "poets may purchase as many pages as they wish in the anthology. Each page features 30 lines. See WorldCat to local libraries that hold volumes from this series.

Dorrance Publishing also published an annual Contemporary Poets of America anthology from to approximately The anthology, as noted in a ad, "provide[d] readers with an opportunity to enjoy the works of both new and previosuly published poets.


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Both volumes are edited by Alan Sawyer. A current page notes that "Sixty to seventy percent of all entries become semi-finalists and receive a certificate of participation suitable for framing Even poems disqualified from the contest may still be eligible for publication. There is no purchase required to be included in this anthology. 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. Consequently, the two companies appear, at the least, to be affiliated.

Winners were invited to attend the publisher's annual convention, held in locales such as Reno, Nevada, and Orlando, Florida. The name of one of the primary editors of the company's anthologies was "Lavender Aurora. It was originally founded under the name Forward Press by Ian Walton in Forward Press was liquidated in November , but was shortly reformed as Forward Poetry. Forward Poetry's parent company, Bonacia Ltd. The Library of Congress does not hold any Forward Poetry titles in its collections.

Many Forward Press anthologies can be found through WorldCat. According to an archived version of its website, Greenspring Publishing Greenspring, Md. 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.

Iliad Press an imprint of Cader Publishing, Ltd.

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It ran several poetry contests each year as part of its Iliad Literary Awards Program.