To make a career in American poetry nowadays you must enter poetry contests and work your way up the prestige ladder. The contests are run by university and small press publishers. Thousands of hopefuls enter their manuscripts, paying a fee of around $25. The publisher is guaranteed a profit. Most contestants are guaranteed to lose. It’s like boxing – just as bloodily competitive and, Foetry alleged, just as crooked.
american foetry (guardian, 04.07.05)