Then, on the 2nd of November, poetry.com realised they needed to up the ante as I received the following email:
Over the past several months, we have been reviewing the thousands of poems submitted to us, as well as examining the poetic accomplishments of people whose poetry has appeared on the Internet and in various editions released by other poetry publishers in
Congratulations on your accomplishment, Oliver. This is an extraordinary honor. The International Who's Who in Poetry will be among the finest quality and most interesting books we have ever produced, and poets from several nations around the world will be featured. Each poem published will be exhibited on a page by itself. Every aspect and design of this anthology will display an uncompromising level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. This coffee-table quality book will be printed in two colors on fine milled paper, and it will feature a highly detailed, ornate cover and quality typography throughout. It will make a handsome addition to any library, a treasured family keepsake, or a highly valued personal gift.
Obviously I was elated with this news - a ringing endorsement of my poetic credentials - but, again, they needed a small amount of money from me - $49.95 for the book, $19 for postage and handling and a (nominal) fee of $25 to prepare and print my artist's profile. It was such a wonderful offer but I just couldn't quite bring myself to shell out all that money (even for such a finely crafted anthology) and so I resigned to not hearing from poetry.com again...
And was therefore surprised when, on 27th December, I received a further email from poetry.com that was so exciting that I almost collapsed in shock. Thankfully I was sitting down when I opened the email:
The Editors of The International Library of Poetry were thrilled to inform you that your poem was bestowed the prestigious Editor's Choice Award because of your artistic accomplishments and unique perspective--characteristics found in the most noteworthy poetic works. To further commemorate this prestigious achievement we have elected you to receive the 2006 Editor's Choice Published Poet Ribbon Award Pin.
This stunning pin proudly displays your elevated status in our poetic community. Since only an elite group of published poets were selected to receive this special honor, imagine the sense of pride you will feel when others see you wearing the 2006 Editor's Choice Published Poet Ribbon Award Pin. What an impressive way to show off your status as an honored poet for the year 2006!
As you can see from the picture above, the pin in question is clearly an exquisite work of art and - were it not for the $19.95 plus $5 shipping - would be extremely tempting to any would be poet. Since receiving the email, many have been the times that I've reflected on the sense of pride I would have felt when others saw me wearing it. Oh well, I guess it just wasn't to be...
And then, just when I had resigned myself to the fact that poetry.com was only interested in me for my money, I received a (frankly stunning) email from them on the 13th January which surely demonstrates that they are interested in me - first and foremost - as a poet and artist:
It's something we don't often do, but after reading and discussing your poetry, the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Library of Poetry has nominated you for membership in the most exciting poetry organization in the world--the International Society of Poets!
The Editorial Advisory Board wholeheartedly agrees that your poetic writings warrant nomination into the International Society of Poets--a poetry organization that is world-renowned and dedicated to recognizing poetic talent such as yours. As Chairman, I want to personally inform you about all the new benefits of Membership, and I did not want you to miss out on this opportunity. Oliver , I know that after hearing what we are about, you will join us as a member of our society--the International Society of Poets!
The excitement was palpable (which is surely the best kind of excitement). I am so glad that the quality of my poetry is due to be recognised within my own lifetime. Now, I just need to find $149 for my annual membership fee and I can join my poetic brethren...