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Author Topic: Workshop the Experts: Jeffrey Levine  (Read 44528 times)
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rperlman
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2007, 12:03:08 AM »

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AGNI accepted Jeffrey Levine's "Antonia Refuses the Nectarines" many months ago -- long before the contest issue arose -- signed a contract with him, and he approved the online galleys also before we knew of any problem.  We felt a strong ethical obligation to continue with the posting of this one poem.


This is a SHOCKING post--the idea that AGNI editors would lower themselves to post anything serious on this site, let alone imply that they might not have published Jeffrey Levine's poem if the contest controversy were known to them is astounding.  I'm ashamed for whoever made this post and is seeking to distance AGNI from a decision made about a poem, not a person, out of what--fear? AGNI has validated a witch hunt and will forever be damaged for doing so in my eyes. I intend to make sure as many others as possible know about AGNI's publication policy as seen in this post--in summary, AGNI will only publish poets who don't have any controversy attached to them (that they KNOW about of course) since it might brush off on AGNI and tarnish them in the eyes of a group of utterly talentless, bitter, conspiracy-driven, destructive-minded, wannabe-poets.  AGNI fears Foetry?  AGNI apologizes for an editorial decision because people are upset about a poet's actions in another arena? AGNI feels the need to defend itself for selecting a poem because the poet is under fire?  And to the people HERE?  It's beyond comprehension.  Who the hell is going to stand up to this? There has GOT to be legal recourse to what these people are doing here, the casual and constant defamation of character, the damage to the field of poetry itself.  Who NEEDS Foetry? What is it doing for poetry, other than systematically destroying the handful of presses and people who care enough to dedicate themselves to helping the art survive?
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Expatriate Poet
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2007, 01:31:20 AM »

Quote
AGNI wrote:
AGNI accepted Jeffrey Levine's "Antonia Refuses the Nectarines" many months ago -- long before the contest issue arose -- signed a contract with him, and he approved the online galleys also before we knew of any problem.  We felt a strong ethical obligation to continue with the posting of this one poem.

I want to thank AGNI personally for this quick response to my cri du coeur. Because that's what it was when I cried out on this site against Jeffrey Levine--indeed where else can an unsheltered poet like myself who has been callously abused by a famous editor get a hearing? And it means more to me  than AGNI can possibly imagine that my small voice was actually heard!

    In fact I'd already thought of what AGNI says--an earlier contract, of course! Six months ago I myself would never have suspected anything was amiss at The Tupelo Press. After all, I'd already submitted no less than 8 book length manuscripts to Tupelo by that time, simply because I felt it was one of the few publishers who might actually be independent enough to hear an anomaly like me! That's also why I had separate manuscripts in both the Tupelo July Open Reading AND the Dorset Prize Competitions--I had that much trust in them  right up to the moment I received my double whammy last November—because in the end I got the worst of both worlds!

   And Crazyhorse? If anyone visiting this site is unaware of why I also included a plea to Crazyhorse, you should know that the College of Charleston Writing Program is just about to collaborate on an ambitious new graduate program which touches precisely on these issues. Indeed, the goal is to train graduate students so they can better administer literary competitions, which is certainly admirable. On the other hand, such a course must never ignore the fact that there are profound ethical concerns as well, and I personally have grave reservations about the ethical suitability of Jeffrey Levine as a founding partner in such an enterprise. I also know that Carol Ann Davis is not only a Tupelo poet, but that she sat on the Dorset Prize panel beside Jeffrey Levine--which must mean she felt it was appropriate for him to continue to judge a competition he had already compromised. As a member of that panel she should have seen my letters to Jeffrey Levine and Margaret Donovan explaining that I had been offered a $295.00 deal by him that included special, inside work on my m.s, an extra 30 days beyond the announced deadline, and a bye through the first cut, all of which improprieties should have disqualified Jeffrey Levine point blank. Indeed, if Carol Ann Davis was NOT shown my letters she was deliberately kept in the dark by the press she was working for, which means by the leading partner in The College of Charleston’s new program--which should, needless to say, also disqualify the same person from teaching graduate students how to administer competitions!

So that you can all evaluate better my reservations, here's the URL on the College of Charleston's new course offering. I do believe they need to be treated fairly, and hope you'll check it out with an open mind: http://crazyhorse.cofc.edu/CreativeWriteCOFC.html  Then get back to us here with your views.

   And yes, of course it's possible that The College of Charleston English Department may not be aware of a radical site like 'Foetry,' but Carol Ann Davis and Garrett Doherty surely must know it as it's the only source that I know of for the dark side of the 'poetry business' in the U.S.A. As such it is essential to be included in their syllabus, and should be a topic of frequent and passionate discussion during the four weeks of the program--the Application Deadline is May 1st, so the organizers have got a lot of catching up to do if they're still unaware of it.

On the other hand, not to read it because Jeffrey Levine says not to is the road to disaster for them all!

And potential applicants might want to see what the organizers have to say about my reservations too, before they sign up for the course--and of course there are a great many other hard facts on this site about Jeffrey Levine's wheeling and dealing. To reply just to me alone is going to be tough for Carol Ann Davis and Garrett Doherty, I know, but I can't see any alternative but abandoning the whole thing altogether.

And listen to me here too, you two. Of course there are voices on this site way over the top, and nobody in their right mind wants to scuttle all MFAs or dismiss all Reviews connected to English Departments. But look at it this way: Foetry is nowhere near the Black Panthers, but just show me the course on African-American liberation that doesn't take the Black Panthers awfully seriously--and praise their guts too, to the sky!

So do get back to us, Carol Ann Davis and Garrett Doherty. AGNI shows you the way a simple and honest response can gain respect. You should take it too.

Christopher Woodman
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Christopher Woodman
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2007, 02:19:15 AM »

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rperlman writes:
 Who the hell is going to stand up to this?

That's precisely my question too, rperlman!

 Why not the editors of Crazyhorse for a start? Because my accusations are hardly innuendoes, and if they ever did get into court they're irrefutable as the document making the unethical proposals was signed by Jeffrey Levine with his own hand.

And "wannabe," rperlman? I suspect that AGNI replied not because they feel outraged by the ethical glitches I've outlined, but because the whole mystique of this wannabe great editor is crumbling! That's not the same as a witch-hunt--it means AGNI doesn't want to be tarnished by publicizing the self-serving copy of a parvenu. That's why I focussed on the poem, because it reveals precisely that!

If you go back over this site you will see that I wrote a forgiving and companionable letter to Jeffrey Levine way back in November recommending that he come clean--yes, I did all this but not because I'm crafty or greedy. I simply got carried away by my own sense of importance, and I'm going to pull out for awhile until I can deal with that side of myself. I've published great books and I want to continue to do that--when I come back I'll have dealt with the inflated part of myself that made me vulnerable to such self-delusion.

Truly the making of a great man, that would be. I've had to make the same apology so many times in my own life, that's why I know about it. And if only my friend had listened I would never have still been going on about it here on this site. But he didn't, so I am--and will continue to do so until enough of us cry enough!

Christopher


(And was it a fair and encouraging letter in fact? I just reread my report of it on this site and am a little embarrassed, I confess. You can judge for yourself by going to the Tupelo Press and Dorset Prize heading, 'Tupelo' thread [Expatriate Poet, Mon Dec 04, 2006 2:42 pm]  http://foetry.com/newbb/viewtopic.php?t=850&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=105  

And what would you have done with it if you'd received it yourself, rperlman?)
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Christopher Woodman
Ed Dupree
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2007, 01:40:36 PM »

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a group of utterly talentless, bitter, conspiracy-driven, destructive-minded, wannabe-poets.



rperlman--

Bitterness, destructive-mindedness and inclination toward conspiracy theories: OK, fair enough, the tenor of conversation here strikes you as having these characteristics. But you can't have seen the poems of most of the members here, so how could you possibly judge their talent, or distinguish the real poets from the wannabees?


 
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...the damage to the field of poetry itself.



Field of poetry? What's that? Sounds like poetry as just another middle-class profession. Maybe poethood would be a more accurate term. On the other hand, the thing itself, the good poem, any good poem, can't possibly be damaged by any critique of the poet's behavior. Can it?
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Wilson
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« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2007, 02:26:53 PM »

Is this the rperlman who starred in Hellboy?
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his is the abyss--quit staring!

Wils
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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2007, 03:25:59 PM »

One of my favorite films, Cronos, had the same director as Hellboy and also starred RPerlman.  

The real RPerlman would never be so pouty.
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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 #21 on: March 31, 2007, 04:05:02 PM »

Perhaps it's Bob Perlman, the post-modernist poet.

Whoever it is, the writer certainly is shocked and aghast.

And furious.

He declares war not only on AGNI, but Foetry.com

O, tremble, ye legions of wannabes!  rperlman has spoken!  Poetry is threatened by the dark maw of Foetry! rperlman shall head off the beast!

rperlman shall ride!


(cue the Wagner...)

rperlman might even be a good poet, and kill us with a poem!  :roll:
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Wilson
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« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2007, 04:53:55 PM »

Or at least make us cry.

I feel a tear just thinking about the mighty pen of rperlman.

rperlman who reads this site while throwing up a little in his mouth.  Why would he continue to read this site?  Is he such a dogged defender of all that is scacred in poetry?  I doubt it.  Could he have been waiting for agni or someother magazine of notariety to respond on foetry.com so he could swoop down in his cape and tights and pass judgement on us all.  rperlman would be better to play a comic book superhero in a movie than to pretend to be one in real life.

on the other hand ... I can hardly wait for the evil twin of rperlman to make an appearance!
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his is the abyss--quit staring!

Wils
leander
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« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2007, 05:10:52 PM »

I'm impressed by AGNI's response.  I think it was okay to print the poem they had already accepted; it's refreshing to see that AGNI did have some moral qualms about it.  And it's not a terrible poem, though I do appreciate Monday's holding it to such high standards.  I think it's a competent contemporary poem, the kind that fills contemporary journals by the hundreds.  But it is nothing special, and my guess is without Levine's position as insider-editor he wouldn't get half his poems published in respected journals like, well, AGNI.

I have no idea who rperlman is.  His hysterics are laughable.  And contrary to his delusions, regular contributor's to this site write some pretty good poetry and publish in some decent places.   As for myself, I'm having my best publishing year so far.  In fact, I've had several poems accepted this year at journals that have been discussed on this site.  I'd like to find some way of naming the names of those journals who are open to relative outsiders like me without outing myself.  I like maintaining anonymity for both posting here and making submissions to journals.   The ideas have to stand on their own, as well as the poems.

AGNI does sometimes seem like an insider's game, but I like enough work there to submit myself, and I have a submission under consideration  right now.  How about it, AGNI, give that unknown as careful a reading as the ingratiated editor?

Leander
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alan
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« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2007, 05:43:58 PM »

" I like maintaining anonymity for both posting here and making submissions to journals."

Come on, Jorie, fess up.
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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 #25 on: March 31, 2007, 10:08:52 PM »

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Before anyone is allowed to teach anywhere, they should be required to not only take and pass, but ace, an ethics course.


What a fantastic idea! I love it, Wils!

Bugz
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ennifer Semple Siegel

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Thewayitworks
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« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2007, 01:44:40 AM »

Obviously not a clue for rperlman, who is probably in the CW program at BU and who doesn't have any concept of literary history. Whadda mean a handful of journals and presses keeping poetry alive? Obviously an AGNI-centric point of view. And AGNI -the holy grail of poetry magazines?- must be one of the handful keeping poetry alive? There are thousands upon thousands of journals and presses publishing poetry today. There's more journals and presses than ever before. Look at the 1960s and 70s, times when small presses published and made reputations of many important poets: Bly, James Wright, Philip Levine, Tom Lux, Marge Piercy, Sonia Sanchez, Mark Strand, etc.etc. It was only in the 1980s that the retreat of poetry to the university presses began as Black Sparrow and Ecco and others disappeared into big corporate presses and then those presses were snapped up by conglomerates. And then the 1990s seeing the internet opening and so we have today.

AGNI is not the only residence of angels on earth who care about poetry by a long shot.

As for Levine the criticism of his poem has to do with his supposed competence as both poet and writer. And how do we know Levine is a competent poet? Well, he does have a book from Red Hen Press, but then again he traded off with the Red Hen editor by publishing her book. There would also be significant questions about that if she was selected in the prize competition. Levine also uses the contest to market himself to unsuspecting writers as a talented poet/editor and he will look at your work and give you special entre if, if, if YOU PAY HIM $300.00, after already paying an entry fee. What defamation? Levine is a public figure, runs a public contest and solicits money from the public for a "contest," Ever hear of consumer rights? Ever hear of federal rules that govern use of US Postal service to solicit money for a contest that is not on the up and up?

Ever hear of the 419 Nigerian e-mail scam that promises $10 million dollars but oh yeah you gotta pay them an extra fee to get it?

AGNI has published good work and has been important in the Boston literary landscape but it's also an insider's game, promoting certain local reputations of friends of above others. So what you say? Well, that's ok if you are privately funded. It's no different than Blacksmith House reading series. You don't read there unless you are friends of.. What's the problem with that? Well, they accept money from the NEA and Mass Arts Council, which means it has to be open and not designed to be for the few because themoney comes from the TAXPAYERS. Blacksmith is all the MFA crowd and the same people read over and over there and many fine writers would never have a chance to read there.

So rperlman why don't you educate yourself about real life and reality and literary history.

Levine has had every opportunity to come here and clear the air. He could apologize and refund the money but... nothing. Bin Ramke has had every opportunity to clear the air, in fact he could completely clear the air by oking the release of ALL records from the now scandalized and defunct Georgia Poetry Series. He refuses and will only speak in select situations in which he is not pressed by hard questions. In fact, Mr. Kipen at the NEA rebuked Ramke for citing the NEA as the reason for ending the series in an interview in POETS & WRITERS when the real reason is that stories were appearing all over the world about Jorie Graham and the scandal at the  series: a dozen stories in US, in UK, Australia, Israel, etc. The notion that a Pulitzer Prize winner might fix a contest was an interesting angle.

Levine could fix everything right away by coming clean, refunding the money, agreeing not to teach in a program that promises to be about ethics in contests and perhaps by agreeing to end his own participation in contests.

This is not the old Soviet Union where you could not question the powers that be that ran the Writers Union.
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Expatriate Poet
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« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2007, 06:06:23 AM »

I didn't attack AGNI and Crazyhorse per se, and I still wouldn't do so. What I did was beg both those distinguished reviews to clear the air--why do you help to puff up the reputation of someone so inflated already? Why give your podiums to a figure of such dubious moral authority?

In the case of AGNI I wanted to know how they could feature on-line a poem by a poet who so obviously dissembles. Because that's the question, isn't it? Does the poem ring true? Indeed, I quite agree, it's not a bad poem, and there are few poetry magazines out there that do not publish such middling stuff quite regularly--indeed, they make most of us feel comfortable as we recline on our own decks with our Vallejos, even if we can't read French. But when you know the author wants to be seen as a great editor, and that for a fee he will offer his services to all and sundry, promising them that they too can sound that good, that's a wholly different story.  
 
So I agree with Monday Love, the poem is half-baked. Moreover it really is a fashion statement, a boutique poem, the advertising copy of a self-serving parvenu. That's why I don't want AGNI to publicize it--because I do believe in AGNI and I don't believe in him!

I think AGNI's reply was in fact fair and appropriate to all concerned. Kudos to them.

As to Crazyhorse, the question was about Jeffrey Levine as a role model for budding contest administrators. The jury's still out on Crazyhorse as we still haven't heard from Carol Ann Davis or Garrett Doherty, the organizers of the College of Charleston's new institute--I was going to say of literary ethics, but that would truly be a cheap shot, so I won't.

I wonder if Carol Ann Davis and Garrett Doherty have asked their partner,  Jeffrey Levine, if they're allowed to reply.

Rperlman was begging for people to speak out in defense of Jeffrey Levine and his sacred calling. I suspect Jeffrey Levine wouldn't agree with rperlman on that one because he's a lawyer.

Christopher
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Christopher Woodman
alan
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« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2007, 12:13:50 PM »

Today is the third anniversary of foetry.com.

I noticed that a "known" foe-figure teaches at the College of Charleston: Anthony Varallo.  You'll recall the controversy surrounding his "win" at Iowa.  So perhaps C of C doesn't give a rip about integrity.  We shall see.
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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
rperlman
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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2007, 12:54:25 PM »

Quote from: Expatriate Poet

In the case of AGNI I wanted to know how they could feature on-line a poem by a poet who so obviously dissembles. Because that's the question, isn't it?
Christopher


NO NO NO! That is NOT the question. Just as, in the dispute about awarding Pound the Bolligen Prize, it was NOT the question, how he lived his life, how bad a man he was, etc., etc. The question was, the question is, the question always must be: What is the worth of the POEM?  To have AGNI concur that someone's life would even tangentially influence, or be considered as grounds for not publishing a poem, is as bad as what you all rail against here. Isn't it exactly the kind of corruption you decry, the mixing up of someone's work and someone's life, where they live, who they know, what they've done in areas outside the scope of the actual poem? What hypocrisy!! And then to go probing the poem, looking for "evidence" of your pre-conceived notions of "immorality"--- ugh.
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