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Author Topic: Foet of the year  (Read 9895 times)
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Sim
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« on: January 27, 2007, 10:17:46 PM »

Any nominations?
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Expatriate Poet
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2007, 01:39:18 AM »

Whoever it is it must be the person who most fulfills the following:

1.) The person who most betrayed the trust of those who beleived in his or her integrity before this year's revelation;

2.) The person who would benefit most from being chosen for the honor (put that in your pipe and smoke it, says he--in lieu of an emoticom!);

3.) The person that the rest of the world needs most to see so exposed (i.e. don't waste your time on those who are already thoroughly discredited);

Finally, why not make a list of candidates--in alphabetical order? And to really show where we're at, leave off the famous names. We've done them and simply aren't interested anymore. So no Jorie, no Bin, no Janet--they're boring!
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Christopher Woodman
alan
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007, 09:47:18 AM »

Christopher, your criteria are leading!  And I agree with you.

And Janet's only famous because of Foetry.  At least Bin and Jorie had made names for themselves prior.

So, I'll start the list with Jeffrey Levine and add CD Wright, who fooled me like so many people got fooled by Levine.  And it won't hurt my feelings if Levine or someone else beats her.
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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it. -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2007, 11:10:07 AM »

I would like to nominate the Board of Directors of the Providence Public Library(in Rhode Island) for their consistent work in privatizing a community setting, their confusion of a specific mission, and Multiple Disingenuous Behavior.

I believe closing down libraries ( in the name of public safety and economy) is Foetic.

I will not be offended if this nomination is dismissed widely, but I think there is room for addressing Institutional/Collective Foets.

The Providence [RI] Public Library continues to win Awards.  www.provlib.org

Christopher, your criteria are crystalline!    Apologies for my spelling, Nomi
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Kimon Nicolaides
Briggs Seekins
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2007, 04:11:51 PM »

I think Expat's first two criteria are excellent but disagree with the third. I think the very point of a year end, crowning award such as this is to recognize somebody who has already been discredited--in fact, to recognize the foet who was most spectacularly discredited during the past year.

That being said, I can't really imagine the 2006 award going to anybody other than Jeffrey Levine. It's a no-brainer. It's like when the great Pedro Martinez won his back to back Cy Young awards for the Red Sox in 1999 and 2000. Other American League pitchers had fine seasons during those two years, but nobody who followed baseball would have seriously proposed anybody else winning the top award.

There are certainly many qualified candidates for Foet of the year. There are any number of foets who do enough to earn such distinction on a year in, year out basis. Any year in which the Best American Poetry Anthology gets published is probably a year when David Lehman did enough to win. But this was a truly special year for Mr. Levine. My god, the man broke new ground in foetry. I think it is fair to say that he re-defined what it means to be a foet. There have been foets and rigged contests for decades; naive aspiring poets have long been bilked for 20 or 30 dollar reading fees. But this was the first time I have ever heard of an editor actually solliciting these also-rans for much larger sums of money, and with form letters disengenously disguised to read like personal praise, no less. As a sports analyst migh say about a truly great athlete, he changed the way the game is played.
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alan
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2007, 07:45:17 PM »

And I really think the "Foet of the Year" should receive "a Jorie."  "The Jories" was a great name coined by Jimmy.  

Levine has my vote.
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Alan Cordle
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2007, 09:53:42 AM »

Jeff Levine should win the Jorie for 2006.

David Lehman should get a Special Achievement Lifetime Jorie Award for his Best American Poetry Series.  

Lehman's annual best series, begun in 1988, could have been a real bright spot in American poetry, but instead Lehman allowed it to become an 'award-winning poet publishing award-winning poet' foetry-fest.  The nadir was probably 1993, when Louise Gluck wrote in her introduction, as the guest editor for that year, that she was against the whole idea of the Best Poetry series and that she very reluctantly took on the job--and then she proceeded to pick editors and judges (and awful poems, too) for the 1993 volume who would help her out with awards and publications in the future.  Foetry is bad enough, but when blatant hypocrisy accompanies it, new heights are reached.
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Briggs Seekins
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2007, 02:35:11 PM »

I have to think the nadir was in 1998 when Lehman actually included a poem that praised one of his own poems. I have trouble believing John Hollander, that years' guest editor, actually selected "The Difference between Pepsi and the Pope."
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Monday Love
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2007, 07:21:30 AM »

Quote from: "Briggs Seekins"
I have to think the nadir was in 1998 when Lehman actually included a poem that praised one of his own poems. I have trouble believing John Hollander, that years' guest editor, actually selected "The Difference between Pepsi and the Pope."


I'm quite sure Hollander did not select that poem.  Lehman makes it quite clear that he selects poems as well.   Lehman: "Oh, John, I've selected this one."  Hollander: "Yea, whatever."   What can the guest editor say?  They are Lehman's 'guest,' after all.  It's win-win for both of them.  They're not going to fight.  Why should they?  Every guest editor, and Lehman, both know what the game is.

I agree with you, however, that this might have been the nadir.
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Thewayitworks
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2007, 08:02:43 AM »

There are several different ways to look at nominations. To throw in my two cents I think that there is a difference between Levine and say Ramke or Jorie or Cairns.

Isn't Levine essentially a passive Foet trying to maximize cash flow? While you may question guidelines and how he is handling this and what the end result might be, is there specific evidence that he manipulated a contest/ winners to derive a Foetry result?

For my money Cairns, Ramke, Jorie are the group to consider. They actively plotted, collaborated with others (and denied fairness to many) and took in tens of thousands (if not hundreds) of dollars over the course of their contests. This to me is the worst case perfect storm scenario. To actually draw up a  list of your pals and favorites, run a contest and then work with others to essentially throw out all manuscripts but one and then select a colleague/friend/student is far worse than what Levine has done. It is a betrayal of trust from valued institutions we should be able to trust. Anyone would think a university affiliated press would have ethics.

With Levine he is putting down in black and white what he wants to do and writers can decide for themselves if they want to continue or decide that he has bad taste and poor judgement and skip the contest or further contact.

I just don't think you can put the University of Georgia or University of Iowa Press in the same category. I believe that an annual selection of the biggest Foet is warranted (and it appears there will never be a shortage).
The fact that co-nominees University of Georgia Press and University of Iowa Press have engaged in on-going enterprises to sponsor contests that have taken in hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a sustained period of time is far worse. The fact that they were once prestigious university presses (and that Iowa is connected to a university that also has one of the most important (used to be) writing programs) also makes it worse. The fact that the response from both universities was not concern but arrogance, stonewalling and a refusal to acknowledge makes them the best candidates. It is one thing to trust a Ramke as director/editor/advisor but when notified of possible problems for the press to do nothing, to stonewall is truly unacceptable. How many thousands of dollars (if not hundreds of thousands) were taken from unsuspecting writers? And even when notified or questioned for Iowa U. Press to essentially say, "drop dead," and then name four in-house winers the next year is certainly a thumb in the eye.

I would nominate The University of Georgia Press and Iowa Press as co-winners. By nominating both you not only take to task the institutions (in athletics when they consider the death penalty it is usually due to lack of institutional control) but also the people involved (editors, judges) and also the winners. What can be worse than the plummeting reputation of the press and the fact that writers begin to understand that the winning of a certain prize is tarnished and they no longer submit thus denying them their money pile.

There is a reason a number of presses have been extending their contests and looking for more winners. Writers submitting to contests have become more savy (thanks for shining the light Foetry) and are avoiding certain contests or skipping them altogether. So a contest promises $2,000 prize and then only gets a hundred entires at $15 each? Oops!

My nominees: University of Georgia and University of Iowa Press. Both were notified, both had an opportiunity to reform, both continued. Only the overwhelming publicity stopped the Georgia series. You could also consider Ramke for a special Lifetime Achievement Award. Who knows how far this goes back with Ramke. And we still don'ty know how bad it is because Georgia won't release the records. And then Georgia also has the plagiarism issue with the book of short stories that was recently withdrawn.

For honorable mention I would say Scott Cairns and Zoo Press.

So I vote for:

2006 Foetry Award winners:

University of Georgia Press and University of Iowa Press

Honorable mentions:
Scott Cairns and Zoo Press

Lifetime Achievment Award:
Bin Ramke
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Matt
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2007, 09:19:45 AM »

TWIW, it does seem like we could use at least another category.  Your nominees are certainly worthy of the Foet of the Year (or Decade?) title.  As you  point out, but don't specifically use the term, their acts are fraudulent.  That is, in our opinion, they are both reprehensible and illegal.

This is pure "foetry" on the legal front . . . and that's where the mission of this website begins.

Although I don't disagree with your nominees at all, I think it's worth pointing out that Jeffrey Levine's actions, although not decidedly criminal, are at least pretty sleazy.  These actions are more startling in a way, even heartbreaking, because Tupelo had a pretty stellar reputation.  Even Foetry.com considered their guidelines (if certainly not ideal) at least vastly superior to most contest and press submission guidelines.

But the stone has been turned over, and now the bugs are becoming visible.  There is a sense of loss with the Levine debacle that is fairly profound.  It doesn't elicit the kind of outrage that legalistic foetry might . . . but I get the impression that many people feel a light in the poetry world has been snuffed out.

It's definitely a subjective matter.  But if the sample of people who have responded here on our forum is even remotely indicative of the pool of "the abused", I think they were wounded by this in a place much deeper and more fragile than the pocket book.

Anyway, I'm rambling again.  What do others think about the Foet of the Year as emotionally or legally defined?  Should there be multiple categories?  Should we have specific criteria?

-Matt
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Monday Love
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2007, 08:17:39 PM »

I think Thewayitworks has made a very convincing case. I second his nominations. I don't think we need a lot of categories and criteria at first. Foetry Award, honorable mention, lifetime achievement. Those will do right now.
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Thewayitworks
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2007, 11:02:55 PM »

Well I don't consider Levine or his press to be of any great signifcance. Published a few interesting books. If the press disappeared tomorrow no great loss. Shouldn't be blinded by the fact that he published good guidelines but doesn't follow them.

It's altogether different when you have institutions involved, especially those that let themselves be manipulated by the Bins and Jories without recognizing their own presence and responsibilities in the larger world and culture.

No matter how you look at it, what Alan and his Foet fighters uncovered and documented was stunning. In fact it was so stunning that the result was so many articles on the cheating scandal that appeared as a result. No one should underestimate the difficulty of pulling that off as the whole MFA system is secretive (who trades what to who in return for what), monolithic and resistant to change. It's hard to crack. AWP won't do anything. But once you go NY Times, Boston Globe, Chronicle of Higher Education, LA Times (and then all over with LAT article thanks to AP). Suddenly stories were appearing in Australia, UK, and in Hebrew in Israel about Jorie and cheating.

Levine doesn't influence. Iowa is not the premiere program it once was, but it is still important and influential. The unmasking of Iowa, Georgia and the Vassar Miller is a seminal point in American poetry. The deafening silence from the establishment and established writers after the revelations is also shocking. Its as if someone exposed the fact someone at a university like Columbia, Harvard or Iowa had set up a system of trading favors and cheating within the larger infrastructure of the university. But then the universities did nothing about it and prominent members of the community refused to condemn it.

Alan believes -as do I- that Georgia was more extensive than we know. It was essentially an affirmative action, non-compete program for the friends, students and relations of Ramke and the judges. It was a hijacking of American poetry at Georgia, Iowa and Vassar Miller, as the whole system is predicated on publication and awards and as a result the grants, fellowships and teaching jobs all flow from that. And so a dishonest prize series distributes the false winners throughout the larger system.

So now to Levine. If people are stupid and want to pay him so be it.

Georgia and Iowa are the clear co-winners.

Foetry is an important moment in American literature. Things will change. There is a breaking point. The well-known poets are sitting fat on top of their piles of books and awards and nice salaries. But the barbarians are at the gate and they have been exposed by their own silence.
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Matt
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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2007, 11:39:32 AM »

TWIW, I agree that Levine is not a major player.  At least, I never figured he was until I started seeing the reactions to this latest indiscretion.

I'm a complete outsider when it comes to the PoBiz, so I usually have to rely on the feedback of active participants in the PoBiz in order to get a sense of what's going on.

But you are certainly right that Iowa and Georgia and all the other more severely "foetic" acts deserve the most attention and such "honors" as Foet of the Year.

My only question to all is: what is the case for either of these institutions winning a 2006 Foet of the Year award?  I think we would have to make a more specific case using examples.

I don't mean to even imply that this couldn't be done.  I'm sure it could be.  I'm just saying, in order to give the award to these long time Uber-Foets, we need to present the evidence (for 2006).

That is one advantage to the case for Levine.  We have all of his latest shenanigans documented.  I know we have tons of documentation of Iowa and Georgia indiscretions prior to 2006 . . . but what about for the last year only?

Can those of you who are more up to date on these things help compile items of 2006 indiscretions for our favorite Uber-Foets?

Thanks,
Matt
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Thewayitworks
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« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2007, 01:43:24 PM »

my suggestion. The evidence of their indiscretions is on your own website. If this is the first year of the awards then why not make it retroactive to those two (Iowa is stil ongoing). Georgia had a 22 year history under Ramke. Levine is a gnat. Why give a gnat the award. You do seem to lack perspective. It is not just those tow presses but everyone associated with them. I feel that I made my case in an eloquent way and you don't feel the same so I'll shut up. My suggestion still stands.
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