Vanity by Numbers

there's nothing new in vanity
Doctor Syntax & Bookseller by Thomas Rowlandson

Vanity by Numbers

I sent in some poems, a varied selection,
And each was admitted with not one rejection,
Included within this exclusive collection,
And mine for just twenty-nine pounds ninety-nine.

I thought of the public enjoying my writing,
In thousands of copies, on my words alighting –
Yet only those featured received the inviting
To purchase this volume, exclusive and fine.

It came and I read my first masterworks printed,
And turned not to one of the other fresh-minted
New authors, who each in their turn would have squinted,
At only their own words, and never at mine.

Amongst my first forays into promoting my poetry was (since sold, so party on, current owners).  They invited submissions for competitions that I now suspect were never actually won by anyone – instead, I received congratulations and offers be included in an anthology, which as a participant could be mine for a reduced price, how many copies did I wish to order ?  I allowed my work to be entered, but never bought the volumes.  After two or three times, I stopped even allowing the use of, and cursed myself for once again wasting my stamps.

Another vanity outfit with which I had a dalliance were the Forward Press of Peterborough (who I later discovered were definitely not connected to the Forward Poetry Prize).  Again, I avoided sending them any actual money, though I did allow them to use a couple of my poems in their magazine.  I even won a £10 cheque for the best poem, which caused me to order the issue in question.  Alas, they went bust before it arrived, but I did get to download the electronic version (though that has been lost on an abandoned hard-drive long ago).  I distinctly remember which poem won, because it was the weakest of the ones I sent them, which in itself inspired another poem along with this one.

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