Keep the champagne on hold

Outlook India reported recently: “Noted English poet Saleem Saim has bagged the coveted “Poet of the year 2004-05″ award, with a purse of 20,000 dollars, of the US based International Society of Poets.”

The award-winning entry by the poet from Moradabad is called ‘Kept Apart’. Sample lines:

“Here I think and think of her all time as a mad

There my wife moans

Tossing lone and sad…”

Saim was somewhat sceptical about the high honour bestowed on him. I think he’s the victim of a poetry scam–illuminated rather nicely here by Warren Boroson of the Daily Record:

“It may surprise you to learn that I recently was nominated to be Poet of the Year by the International Society of Poets.

Instead of jumping for joy, I thought: Don’t these people ever stop? Have they no shame? Are they so contemptuous of the general public that they continue to engage in this insulting behavior?”

Warren has submitted poetry to the Society before.

“The first time, I submit a poem from a collection, “The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse.” The author was the late Julia Moore, and here is an excerpt:

“The character of Lord Byron

“Was of low degree,

“Caused by his reckless conduct

“And bad company.”

Moore, who died in 1920, was soon informed that she had won honorable mention in the poetry contest, and her “beautiful poem” would be published in a forthcoming volume if she gave permission (and paid to buy the book).

Gushed Eddie-Lu Cole, poetry editor, “I am so happy for you!”

The second poem I submitted was:

“Roses are red violets are blue I don’t know what comes next Do you?

“Dandelions are yellow carnations are white That’s enough poetry for today Good night.”

That also was received with lavish praise…”

Saleem Saim doesn’t deserve to be rooked, so here’s a friendly warning–this is what to expect if you show up as an award-winning poet for the convention.

From Mary Zayas:

“The open mike rooms were not organized. No sign-in sheets, no time limit. You had to wrestle the mike away from someone. Poets had pages and pages of poetry in some instances. Then the banquet. Chicken, rice, buns, water, iced tea, coffee and dessert. No offer of a soft drink or wine – and my registration fee alone was more than $500! After listening to W.D. Snodgrass you need wine. The Marvelettes were great…the induction ceremony was not. They put glow-in-the-dark circles from Disneyworld on the table, had us twirl them in the air and we were now members! Hooray.”

And there is at least one other contender out there for title of ‘Poet of the Year, 2004’. Saleem Saim, meet Patsy Lewis. And Becca E Henry. And (scroll down the page) Joyce Ivy. How does the International Society of Poets spell “winner”? To rhyme with S-C-A-M.





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