Back in January, I submitted this string of rap lyrics to a poetry contest under my stage name Darnell Watkins, besting rappers like Drake on the strengths of my writing and not getting into fights in the club. For those that need a refresher, here is my poem in its entirety:
I assumed that my mark in history had been made and left it at that.
BUT NO. It had only just begun (to live…).
In March, I received an email from the World Poetry Movement (LOL) telling me that my poem had been published. PUBLISHED. Here’s their message to Darnell:
Every year we have thousands of poems sent to us. And most people want to see their biggest dream … to finally see their work published!
Unfortunately, we can only choose a limited number of poems to include in our book, Stars in Our Hearts. In fact, less than 2 out of every 100 poems we review ever appear in print!
What I’m trying to say is that you should be very proud your poem made the cut!
But I’m surprised you haven’t ordered your own copy yet! Here are some things you need to be aware of:
We are just about ready to go to print
I’m only able to reserve a limited number of books for contributing poets at a special discount price
As of today we only have 5 left. They will be gone before the week is over. Then, if you still want one, you’ll have to pay the same retail price as everyone else
To claim your Special Discount, you must act today
You must be completely delighted with every aspect of how your poem is presented, or you’ll receive a full and prompt refund, no questions asked.
You should consider it a great honor to be included in this beautiful book full of wonderful poetry!
But time is running out to see yourself in print! This will be an exciting moment to share with your friends and family.
Also, this first published poem could likely lead to having more of your poetry published. It happens all the time.
I hope to hear from you very soon! Order now before its too late.
World Poetry Movement
This joke had taken on a life of its own. And I LOVED it.
But it got BETTER.
A few weeks later, I got a crazier email, not only claiming that my poem granted me a share of $10,000, they had the nerve to repurpose the presidential seal for their new sham company!
April is National Poetry Month, the largest literary event in the world. This month-long celebration was created to spread appreciation for the art of poetry.
To prepare for this celebration, we reviewed the work of amateur poets that has appeared on the Internet and in various publications throughout the United States.
Recently, we had the pleasure of discovering your poetry and believe it deserves more formal, widespread recognition. In this regard, it’s my pleasure to inform you that you have been selected to be published in the historic edition…
Great Poets Across America
A Celebration of National PoetryMonth
Library of Congress ISBN- 978-1-61936-035-8
Congratulations on your selection, Darnell.
The poem you submit will be featured on an entire page devoted exclusively to you and your poetic artistry. You will appear along with a distinguished group of just 305 other amateur poets that were nominated for this historic project.
And that’s not all.
You will Share $10,000 in Cash and Prizes
We have established over $10,000.00 in cash and prizes that will be awarded to you and the other elite poets featured in this celebration of National Poetry Month!
You are automatically eligible for these prizes, but you must submit your poem on the attached entry form right now. Prize winners will be announced by May 31, 2012, with an anticipated publication date of June, 2012.
Great Poets Across America will be among the finest quality coffee-table poetrybooks ever produced. And best of all…
This celebration of National PoetryMonth will feature an entire page devoted exclusively to the poetry of
Before going any further Darnell, let me make one thing clear. You are under no obligation whatsoever to submit any entry fee or subsidy payment, or make a purchase of any kind.
Of course, many people do wish to own a copy of the publication in which their artistry appears. If you would like to order a copy, you receive special discount pricing.
Free! Get Your Two Beautiful Poet Award Pins!!
A $79.90 Value – Yours Free!
You’ll also be awarded two beautiful lapel pins that have been custom designed in honor of you and your poetry. These impressive jewelry pieces feature elegant designs and meticulous craftsmanship, that formally recognize your poetic contributions.
These two beautiful pins sell for $39.95 each, but you GET THEM FOR FREE when you order the book that features your poetry. You get one pin for FREE ($39.95 value!) with any order, or get BOTH PINS FREE (a $79.90 value) with any order of $60.00!
So What Happens Now?
As soon as we receive your poem, it will be typeset for publication and become eligible for $10,000 in cash and prizes that will be awarded to you and the other poets chosen to celebrate National Poetry Month.
And let me assure you, your poem remains your property; Great Poets Across America is copyrighted as a compilation. This means that you retain all rights to your own work of art.
Darnell, Please Enter Your Poem Right Away!
To meet our publication date, you must submit your poem right now. Your poem must be original, 34 lines or less, and written by you as one of our Great Poets Across America.
Darnell, you can also tell the general public, your fellow poets, and members of the media more about you. You are under no obligation to include this information. Your poem can be published without it if you wish.
Again, congratulations Darnell!
We feel fortunate to have discovered your talent and believe your poem will add to the importance and appeal of this edition. Your participation in this historic celebration of National Poetry Month is greatly appreciated.
Great Poets Across America
P.S. It’s our pleasure to publish talented poets like yourself in celebration of National Poetry Month. In order to meet our publication date, please submit your poem as soon as possible. If we do not receive your poem in the next 7 days, the nomination you earned could be given away to another poet.
P.P.S. One final note. Many poets have asked for a formal way to recognize their selection to this highly anticipated edition. We are glad to be able to do this. You can receive a beautiful, archive quality, vellum Great Poets Across America Gold Award that’s embossed in gold and features your name in fine calligraphy. Your Award will arrive in a free, custom made display case. Please see the attached order for details.
Celebrate National Poetry Month!
“Poetically yours.” Oh my god, THIS IS HILARIOUS.
And it got BETTER.
After a similar email a few weeks later, I got a new message about the poem’s publication in the anthology Stars in Our Hearts (LOL). Keep in mind that this was all for this “poem”:
Here THAT is:
It’s been a great year for you!
You were selected as a Semi Finalist poet in our International Competition!
Your poetry was chosen for publication by our editors!
And now you can receive two beautiful lapel pins that have been designed in honor of you and your poetry!
You may order these two beautiful pins for $39.95 each, or GET THEM FOR FREE when you place an order for the book that features your poetry.
You get one pin FREE (a $39.95 value!) with any order, or get BOTH PINS FREE (a $79.90 value!) with any order of $60.00! Click Here to Order Now!
Your Poem In Print…
Your poem made the cut in our new Deluxe, Hardbound edition of Stars in Our Heart. Less than 2 out of every 100 poems we review ever appear in print. You should consider it a great honor to be included in this beautiful book full of wonderful poetry!
This Book is Shipping Now!
This is your last chance to order at the special pre-publication discount price, and also receive two beautiful lapel pins (a $79.90 value) ABSOLUTELY FREE!
As always, you’ll also receive a 100% No Questions Asked Guarantee of Complete Satisfaction.
World Poetry Movement
P.S. These two beautiful lapel pins were custom designed to honor you and your poetry. Normally $79.90, GET BOTH FREE. Don’t delay. Click Here to Order Your Copy of Stars In Our Hearts Now and Get Your Free Poet Award Pins!
These emails have been making it a great year for me–in laughing at con artists emailing me about shitty poetry. Successive emails followed over the next few weeks, with a “FINAL NOTICE” email landing in my inbox yesterday.
Needless to say, I will not be buying the books or getting my free poet award pins. But I’ll always have the memories. And my long-delayed album, Farts and Tarts, which WILL see the light of day. (I’m wrangling with the record label about its content.)