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Question: Is Jeffrey Levine a suitable choice to head the new Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publising Institute?  (Voting closed: May 31, 2007, 12:16:16 AM)
In my estimation, Jeffrey Levine is suitable for the position. - 20 (26.3%)
In my estimation, Jeffrey Levine is not suitable for the position. - 56 (73.7%)
Total Voters: 14

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Author Topic: The CRAZYHORSE/TUPELO PRESS PUBLISHING INSTITUTE  (Read 34117 times)
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« on: April 16, 2007, 12:16:16 AM »

If anyone visiting this site is considering enrolling in the Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute graduate program at the College of Charleston this June, you might want to visit three of our discussions on some of the issues involved.

IRONS IN THE FIRE can be found in the TUPELO PRESS AND DORSET PRIZE section. It includes some reactions to the various new publishing and critical projects being organized around Jeffrey Levine, the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Tupelo Press, including the PUBLISHING INSTITUTE at the College of Charleston and the COLRAIN MANUSCRIPT CONFERENCE.

The TUPELO thread discusses in great detail the recent scandal at the Tupelo Press that included 100s of form letters purporting to be personal critiques, solicitations for considerable amounts of additional money, and promises of very dubious advantages in a subsequent competition.

In addition, WORKSHOP THE EXPERTS: JEFFREY LEVINE is an in-depth discussion of Jeffrey Levine's poetry in relation to what we know about him as an editor. That thread can be found in the LIT CRIT section under the subheading, POETS, BOOKS, AND POEMS.  

It is important to note from the start that the goal of the CRAZYHORSE/TUPELO PRESS PUBLISHING INSTITUTE is one that we on this site very strongly support, and that is to train a new generation of graduate students in how to administer literary competitions. We believe such competitions should be administered fairly and transparently at every level from the receipt of the very considerable amounts of money such competitions generate through the judging of the manuscripts, cut by cut, to the final production of the prize-winning title. There are many ethical issues that are extremely important in addition to the actual selection of the winner, including, for example,  the payment of whatever prize money has been promised and the signing, delivering and honoring of appropriate contracts.

We at Foetry strongly believe as well that any course training contest administrators cannot ignore the profound ethical issues that inevitably arise in the selection process, and for that reason we have grave reservations about the ethical suitability of Jeffrey Levine as a founding partner in such an enterprise. We also know that the College of Charleston Writing Program partner in the Publishing Institute project is not only a Tupelo prize winner, but that she sat on the Dorset Prize panel beside Jeffrey Levine throughout the recent scandal, turning a blind eye to the ethical conflicts that should not have been tolerated in such a contest. Indeed, any mildly informed observer has to acknowledge the extreme impropriety of having Jeffrey Levine judge a competition in which he personally assisted some candidates not only to improve their work but to advance ahead of other candidates who had paid exactly the same fees.  We also feel that as a member of the judging panel, the College of Charleston representative and Editor of Crazyhorse should have excused herself as well. Indeed, in our view neither of the founding members of The Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute have demonstrated the ethical awareness and fortitude we at Foetry would like to see become the norm in the administration of literary competitions.

If you're a casual visitor, please do take a few moments to judge all this for yourself. All the evidence is available here on the site--and this note is just a little signpost to help you locate it more easily.

And we'd be very grateful to you for posting your views on the issues involved as well. So far only one poster has attempted to defend Jeffrey Levine, and then only as a poet, not as an ethical editor. We're still waiting for someone to speak up in support of his new role as a teacher of contest administrators. In your view, does he have the qualifications for such a responsibility?
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2007, 11:14:19 PM »

With all due respect, I think it is now time to post the correspondence I have been having with the College of Charleston--their failure to respond to my information with anything but a single pat denial is significant in itself.

I first wrote Carol Ann Davis and Garrett Doherty, the CofC  English Department staff responsible for the organization of the new Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute on March 29th. I gave them quite a lot of background on myself and the reasons why I felt so personally abused by Jeffrey Levine. I received the following reply the following day:


Quote
Subject: Crazyhorse Literary Magazine
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 14:23:21 -0400
From: "Davis, Carol Ann" [e-mail address deleted]
To: Woodman, Christopher [e-mail address deleted]

Dear Christopher,

Thank you for your kind wishes for Crazyhorse’s survival, and for your interest in the magazine.  We’re a
little unclear what it is you’d like from us in our capacity as editors.  We have entered into an editorial
arrangement with Tupelo Press—one which offers the magazine the unprecedented opportunity not only to judge a
first-book competition by a press we esteem but also to host an institute we feel is unique in terms of the
variety of experiences it it offers poets—precisely because we believe in the press and in its editorial
practices.  From everything we know and have been shown at the press (an ongoing, substantive, and deepening
knowledge), we can see that they work in the same way we do:  through the careful reading and consideration of manuscripts.  So, clearly, we are happy to be affiliated with Tupelo Press, and we feel that the work we do
with them will only enhance writers’ opportunities here at the magazine.

We feel no need, therefore, to defend Jeffrey Levine to you, as we believe his actions to be honorable and well intended.  We wish you the best with your work,

Carol Ann Davis and Garrett Doherty
Editors, Crazyhorse



I immediately wrote a reply in which I spelled out in more detail why I felt so uncomfortable about the prospects of Jeffrey Levine teaching graduate students how to administer contests, and upbraiding Carol Ann Davis herself for having sat on the Dorset Prize judging panel even when she was fully aware of the improprieties surrounding a significant number of the manuscripts being considered. I also asked her point blank if she had been shown the 3 letters I wrote Jeffrey Levine and his partner at Tupelo, Margaret Donovan, arguing that my own Dorset Prize submission could not get a fair reading if Jeffrey Levine continued to sit on the panel.

She never replied.

After receiving Carol Ann Davis carpet denial I also wrote the President of the College of Charleston and the Head of its English Department, drawing their attention not to my outrage so much as to the straightforward information available on www.foetry.com. At that point I was, needless to say, quite sure the organizers of the new CofC Publishing Institute would not be sharing this information with their President and the Head of their English Department!

On April 8th I wrote two letters, one to the President and the Head of the English Department and another, more personal, poet to poet letter to Carol Ann Davis. I provided them all with the URL where they could examine a copy of the signed form letter purporting to be a personal critique and including a cash solicitation that had been sent to me and 100s of other hopeful poets after the Tupelo Press Open Reading--I wanted to be sure thay all had access to the cornerstone fact of the whole shameful episode. Indeed, the deceptive letter alone is sufficient cause not to select Jeffrey Levine to teach graduate students anything, what is more how to administer contests!

In the case of the two letters to the President and the Head of the English Department I did not expect an immediate reply--but I most certainly did expect to see some action. Having waited for over two weeks with no sign of response in word or deed, I wrote the following letter to all the players at CofC.


Quote
Subject:  CofC Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 14:19:36 +0700
From: Christopher Woodman [e-mail address deleted]


att. P. George Benson, President,
The College of Charleston
[e-mail address deleted]

cc. Larry Carlson, Chairman
The English Department
[e-mail address deleted]

cc. Carol Ann Davis
Editor, Crazyhorse
[e-mail address deleted]

Re. The CofC Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute & Jeffrey Levine

Dear President Benson,
    I am disappointed not to have had some sort of response from you, if only to thank me for my good intentions even if you don't agree with my conclusions.

    I have also written recently to the Director of an important literary competition and to the Managing Editor of one of the most respected literary reviews in America, and both have honored me with a thoughtful reply. Neither of these letters involved The CofC Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute, I assure you, though both did involve sensitive ethical matters. I just tell you this because my own feeling is that your silence does not reflect well on the College of Charleston, its English Department, or its new Writing Program.

    I can only conclude that you feel I may not, in fact, have received a bogus letter, an improper financal solicitation, or a profoundly unethical offer of special help from Jeffrey Levine, though the letter in question is posted on the internet for all to see.. The only other possibility is that you don't think what Jeffrey Levine did is very important, which would be the crux of the matter,  and precisely why Jeffrey Levine should NOT be teaching your course!

    I'm writing you now to draw your attention to a new Foetry board which is devoted specifically to your Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute, and includes a poll on the matter. You might want to keep an eye on this--the URL is
http://foetry.com/newbb/viewtopic.php?t=1136&sid=2f929ab34f9e94568fbc53203272c90a.

    I'd be so pleased to hear from you--I've always admired Crazyhorse and am very sad to see a great Poetry Review get dragged down by one very poor decision. It would be so easy to clear the air now too--indeed, that's what we all said to Jeffrey Levine but he refused to do the only thing that could have helped him out, which was to excuse himself from judging the competition he had just compromised. Indeed, if you listen too much to Jeffrey Levine without examining the facts for yourself your reputation may well go down just as his is doing.

    One last thought. Why don't you contact some of the Editors of some of the other great American poetry reviews connected with academic institutions and ask them what they think? Boston University's AGNI replied on-line when they were criticized for publishing a single poem of Jeffrey Levine, and gained a lot of kudos in the process. And do take note, they did not attack Jeffrey Levine personally but just acknowledged that the scandal did exist.

With very best wishes, Christoher Woodman




And what should we do now, those of us who feel that a line must be drawn right here? Indeed our position is that unless the whole world wakes up to such shenanigans by teachers and editors in influential positions the whole future of poetry in America will be in jeopardy. Jeffrey Levine is a gifted editor, no doubt, but until he is FORCED to wake up ethically he has no place in the poetry classroom or marketplace. That's our bottom line--join us by standing beside us.

Talk to each other, you poets and teachers, students and editors. And don't listen to the special pleading of the ethically challenged either, or pay any attention to their tears. Tell them to go back to the ethical drawing board, and don't offer them positions of critical or editorial responsibility until they're ready to make it clear to us precisely what they've learned. Then appoint the most gifted of them to teach just that!

Christopher
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Christopher Woodman
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2007, 11:55:45 PM »

With all due respect yet again, I think it's also appropriate for me to draw the attention of perspective applicants for the CofC Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute to the PERMISSION FORM which all Tupelo Press First Book Prize entrants must sign.


ENLARGE

 


On reading this First Book Permission Form required of all entrants for the Tupelo Prize, one must never forget that among the pool are many poets who do not come from an academic background, who are autodidact even, sometimes by choice, sometimes by circumstance. Recently I received an e-mail from a poet who lives on a small farm in a northern state and does her writing in between  farm chores and her small children. A social worker friend told me recently about another very serious poet that has not yet revealed his passion even to his own family yet has managed to complete two full books--and is just starting to send them out. The work of such precious individuals should not be rough-handled by students arguing about “what makes a first book successful,”  a ridiculous idea if there ever was one. And who says “success” can be measured by prizes and positions in English Departments anyway? I for one submitted manuscripts 10 times to Jeffrey Levine's competitions simply because I thought he was NOT part of all that! And if I were an autodidact or a hermit or a handicapped veteran finding my salvation in poetry I wouldn't know where to look confronted by such a Form!

At the opposite extreme there are, of course, many poets in the "first book" competitions who not only have distinquished publishing records already but who have significant positions in both undergraduate and MFA programs all over the country. The Editor of Crazyhorse herself, Carol Ann Davis, is only just in the process of publishing her first book this year, and her co-editor, Garrett Doherty, has yet to find a publisher for his. In fact, many of the poets being asked to sign this form are far from beginners, and must find the whole suggestion both mind-numbing and insulting.

I for one am 67 years old with a B.A. from Columbia (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Woodrow Wilson Fellow) an M.A. from Yale, and an M.A. and an M.Litt. from Cambridge University--my research supervisors were C.S.Lewis and G.G.Hough and I taught under the supervision of George Steiner. As to poetry, I have completed three full-length books and have a good many credits to my name, yet I'm still just a "First Book" hopeful. On the other hand, for the first time in the whole history of the Tupelo Press this old man is NOT a candidate for the "First Book Prize!"

And that's precisely why I'm such an authority on the matter--and I'm truly the real thing even with a real name and a real address and if you Google me you can even find a photo of me on a real bicycle. And quite frankly, I find this PERMISSION FORM ambiguous in the extreme, disingenuous, manipulative, insensitive to what it means to be a poet--on any level!

Which is precisely why I'm so angry--I was writing out my own check last November for $295.00, in Jeffrey Levine's own name, mind you, when I saw my very own personal critique from him posted on this site. And it had some other poet's name on it! And then I saw another, and another, and another!!!

Wouldn't you be angry too--and do whatever you could to stop it from happening ever again?

Some details you might miss. Access to this PERMISSION FORM was removed from the Tupelo Press Website on April 15th, the deadline for the Tupelo First Book Prize, so those of you who are still weighing up the pros and cons of joining the Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute graduate course would not be able to examine it anywhere--and it's essential reading! In addition you might want to compare it with what Carol Ann Davis wrote to me on April 2nd--I've posted it just above on this thread. Finally, one last tricky detail for you First Book hopefuls as well as graduate students with a lot of money to spare, you might want to look at the course description in the College of Charleston Writing Program Prospectus, because indeed all that has been removed from the Tupelo Press Website as well! The only mention is that the deadline has passed--most conveniently, I might add.

EYES OPEN, my friends--because all this is about the modus operandi of your potential Judge as well as of your potential Teacher on judging. Do you like what you see?

Christopher
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Christopher Woodman
Monday Love
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2007, 09:42:15 AM »

Oh this is delicious!

So this girl Davis, Crazyhorse editor and professor at Charleston, Dorset Prize runner-up, with her first book published by Tupelo Press this Fall, is using her position as professor at Charleston to hustle up readers for Jeff Levine's Dorset contest while Charleston charges these readers tuition for college credit (so they can think of themselves as students and not slave labor--doing not only grunt work but paying for it as well: 700 bucks per credit out-of-state tuition.

Participants of this Crazyhorse/Tupelo "institute" are ostensibly "students of publishing" as they read slush piles for Jeffrey Levine, advertised as a "nationally prominent editor" to lure students in.  

Students may earn 6 college credits, 3 for working with the Dorset Prize selection, and 3 for working on Crazyhorse.  

The published literature for this "institute" makes it pretty clear that students will hardly be learning about publishing; they will be reading slush piles of manuscripts for 4 weeks and forwarding them on to Levine, who, when he has a spare moment, will be "teaching" them how to tell a good poem from a bad one.  (And Carol Ann Davis will be there in the flesh to make them realize this is what writes "good" poems.)  

The other "institute" piece (the other 3 credits) is basically a brief internship at Crazyhorse. The whole thing sounds and looks like a complete sham.  But those desperate to become 'insiders' in such a process will take the bait, and hope they can personally charm Davis or Levine.  

Let's be clear.  No one is learning anything about editing and publishing.  It's just another 'creative writing/selection process' piece of twaddle.

This is not some brave new world of an institute in which MFA students of poetry at last get to learn about the nuts and bolts of publishing and editing, as advertised.

Davis, who has received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and the South Carolina Arts Commission, is mutually furthering her career with Jeff Levine at the expense of other paying individuals, who are either vainly deluded, or hoping to buy into the same cynical process (personal enrichment through tricks of vanity) themselves.  

Davis, published by Tupelo, helps to validate Levine, editor of Tupelo.  Levine, hosted by Charleston College, helps to validate Davis by publishing her.  And the whole process is generated by an educational platform in which Levine and Davis purport to objectively illuminate the noble role of publishing and editing!  The whole thing is too funny.

The dilemma is basically this:  The only way to make money in poetry is to hold contests in which many entry fees are collected.   But to get a lot of entry fees, one is forced to accept a lot of manuscripts.  But what if one does not have time to read all the manuscripts?  And more money can be made if the editor charges to critique the manuscripts for a fee.  But again, what if there are too many manuscripts?  As an editor for a small press, where do I find the help?   The answer: a college will provide students do not only do this kind of work, but pay to do it as well.  Jeff Levine, meet Carol Ann Davis.  Carol Ann Davis, meet Jeff Levine.

But what of the poetry?  This is what Davis and Levine are finally teaching, in the end.

Here is a poem I found by a Carol Ann Davis.  

Note the rambling, ditzy, bookworm-ish quality.  

Hers has the exact feel of a Levine poem, that upper class, pedantic, tourist-y view of the world, the misty, eclectic, Sears catalogue foppishness of the slightly bored  intellectual.  

How perceptive.   How dainty.  How run-of-the-mill.  


ENTRIES IN THE MANNER OF OLD-STYLE TRAVELOGUE

 

 

Say you were reading the dictionary

to get to sleep in a strange town,

and came across There is an uncertainty,

a wistfulness in her eyes.
This, among all the impressions

surviving till that moment. You’d read enough

to know it’s Sir E. Cook

describing Florence Nightingale. You remember learning

she ended up somewhere tropical, certainly under

a thatched roof. From these, a picture emerges,

her slight reflection over yours

in the morning mirror.

 

Say you left on the first with your share of the rent,

forgot the name of the town you’d lived in,

set off for the shaded rooms of the Congo,

or Morocco.

 

Or somewhere comparable. Eventually you’d find

that page from the oed copied and left

on the motel room night stand, “open”

to wisteria, wissing. Also wistless. The outskirts

of the city aren’t real or imagined, just

hot ribbons of asphalt in twelve directions. Your reasons

for being here are entirely unknown.

 

And if any number of things occur to you

in a good seat on a glass-bottom boat,

which is most striking? The color motifs

of the passengers, the undersea shrine

to the virgin, its attendant fish?

In this old boat, the glass looks

as if it’s been cut from a great disc.

 

There’s a sudden pang: shame for how little

you think of friends, or how rarely. If not

for the periodic rain showers and the watch

stopping, if not for the new & good drinks,

and there’s nothing to remind you.

Here has little in common with there,

or why bother? The way the map

of the world grew on you in the study,

the view from your porch certain summer nights,

is not enough, you can see from here,

to build around.

 

Arriving late it’s possible to find the sort of motel

you imagined to exist only in novels of the last century:

columned lobby, leather chairs, elevators

like cages. On an afternoon

like this, unlike those you’re accustomed to,

with its cocktail hour and half-read book,

you speak to clarify your meaning,

some idea you had on the plane.

 

The occasional impression of someone traveling alone

becomes the description of a country,

if you lived in interesting times. Someone slight

and beautiful wants to know, what is this

assemblage of papers in your pocket, in with the dust

and the heat?

 

And would you know if you lived

in interesting times?
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Expatriate Poet
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2007, 11:25:06 PM »

Quote
Final lines from "ENTRIES IN THE MANNER OF AN OLD-STYLE TRAVELOGUE:"  

And would you know if you lived

in interesting times?

.................................by Carol Ann Davis



Quote
Monday Love's signature quote at the bottom of his post:

Whisper and eye contact don't work here.



Dear Carol Ann Davis and Jeffrey Levine,

One of the historically most amusing twists of the whole evolution of the "bored" poet in America is that it all goes back to our love affair with  early Eliot--SUCH A GREAT POET, yet neurasthenic, impotent, perpetually uncomfortable with himself and, most importantly of all, perpetually ashamed of his roots in St Louis. Indeed, Thomas Stearns Eliot was and would and will perpetually remain Alfred J. Prufrock, the gauche American tourist with a Baedecker! And now we descendants of the Master google and wiki on our travels instead, and with all that chic information we too hide our mid-western accents, or wherever, we hide our parents and their occupations and our whole heritage--even as we write about reading Vallejo in Spanish to our golden retrievers on an oceanside deck in the Hamptons. And is it any wonder we're bored, having so little respect for what we know ourselves, for our own life experience?

And am I a snob to say that? Only if you don't realize how much I value mid-western accents and real parents, having been brought up with so much only to realize I had nothing.

"Make me believe you!" as my acting teacher always used to shout at me. "Write who you are," I beg you, Carol Ann Davis and Jeffrey Levine, "not who you wannabe!"

Christopher



P.S.  And the sharpest irony of them all, in fact the twist that makes Eliot so painfully yet spritiually deep, is that he DID write who he was, inspite of himself, inspite of all his pretentions and disguises! His emotional ineptitude all hangs out so painfully in that early poetry--it's burnt into our language and our conciousness!

Yet you think you look cool like that, don't you, Carol Ann Davis and Jeffrey Levine, you think you look chic? Why, you would even start a beauty salon to style others on yourselves!

I spoke about a "Wallmart walkabout" a few days ago on the "Workshop the Experts: Jeffrey Levine" thread. But make no mistake about it, that could also be genius if it came from the pen of a great poet with true roots in Wallmart--imagine if Walt Whitman had walkedabout Wallmart in our times!

No, what's got to be exposed is your expensive, boutique poetry, I say--because it's worse than poetry to shop by, it's POETRY TO BE SHOPPED BY!
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Monday Love
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2007, 08:27:22 AM »

The Creative Writing Business used to have the credibility of a typing school until it found a place in the University.  

The Creative Writing Business burrowed itself into its host (the university) in a vocationalized frenzy just as the host was weakened by forces conspiring to squeeze out Authentic Study (Other languages, Poetic craft, Wide reading in history,etc) and Old Learning generally, the Old Guard who knew and loved the Old Masters, the Time-Honored Genius of Literary History-- all of this under attack by the 'typing school' practicality of modernism; like any parasite, the Creative Writing Business came disguised, aping the defense mechanism of the host: John Crowe Ransom, the reactionary southerner, the crusty, conservative, genteel high-brow cracker, dressed in mourning garb, leaving Victorian poems of dead girls in his wake, plowed into the system with his call for New Critics who could properly discern the New Writing--Scholars and Professors were useless to detect the New, so New-Detectors had to be created immediately out of New Writers Who Understood the New.  

Ransom made his move in the late 1930s, during the 'low, dishonest decade,' when the world was about to be turned into a great new Global Marketplace of War as Old Colonialism was transformed into the New Colonialism with added chic and hip.  

The Typing School Matriarch, Crowe Ransom--who had typed poems that rhymed--and friends Paul Engle (the Walt Whitman of Iowa with connections in the State Dept) and various New Critic hangers on, created the Creative Writing Model for the University, transforming poetry as a sacred calling into a English Department/Vocational College hustle.  

As Capitalism was grinding down the sacred on one hand, it was propping it up on the other--poetry was kept alive with the instant canonizing of Creative Writing Teachers Teaching Themselves, and it all had the look to outsiders of something very sacred and very high-brow and very legitimate.    

Robert Southey awards First Book Award Prize to Samuel Coleridge who in turn sits on the committee which awards Robert Southey the Other Wonderful Prize which confirms what we had always known: the Poet with the Most Prizes Wins.  

But who was Robert Southey?  Nobody knew, and nobody cared.  They were too busy awarding prizes.

But now Jeffrey Levine and Carol Ann Davis are taking the whole Typing School thing one step further.

They are creating a classroom, and perhaps even a college department, and perhaps even a whole curriculum.  Ransom would be proud.

Levine and Davis are teaching a First Book Contest Selection inside a First Book Contest Selection as a First Book Contest Selection is actually happening, using contestants' poetry submissions as the subject, and taught by the First Book Contest Judges themselves--an Editor Judge and his Published Press Winner Professor.  

Poetry, which ate the University, is now eating itself.

It is Ghastly to watch.

Poetry once belonged to all who were literate.

Now it belongs to certain people who know certain people who are hustling in a very certain way.

I am perfectly willing to admit that perhaps this is evolution of the highest order--that this is the best that can be done, given current market forces, and perhaps we should not complain.

This is Poetry adapting to the way things are in the best way possible.  I am really almost ready to admit this.

Part of me admires Jeff Levine.   I cannot deny this.

Who am I to admire the old?  Were things any better in the old days?  Didn't Shelley know Byron?

Poetry belongs to the world, the world does not belong to poetry.   Poetry has always been vanity, anyway, has it not?   Poetry has always been used and hyped, hyped and used, and there are just new salemen now, who happen to be less important than the old ones because of how society has changed.  Monday Love, get over it, and get over yourself.

Yes, this is true.  I don't want my complaint to be too grandiose, because then it will come crumbling down of its own weight.

But isn't this Tupello Permission form, which Expat Poet has posted (I was able to read the contents) just the funniest thing you have ever seen?

I mean, come on.
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shadmarsh
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2007, 11:14:13 AM »

Quote
Expatriate Poet wrote on this thread on April 18th:

With all due respect, I think it is now time to post the correspondence I have been having with the College of Charleston:

Subject:  CofC Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 14:19:36 +0700
From: Christopher Woodman

att. P. George Benson, President,
The College of Charleston

cc. Larry Carlson, Chairman
The English Department

cc. Carol Ann Davis
Editor, Crazyhorse

Re. The CofC Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute & Jeffrey Levine

Dear President Benson,
    I am disappointed not to have had some sort of response from you, if only to thank me for my good intentions even if you don't agree with my conclusions.
 
*          *          *                    *          *          *                    *          *          *                    *          *          *                    *          *          *                    *          *          *                    *

    I'd be so pleased to hear from you--I've always admired Crazyhorse and am very sad to see a great Poetry Review get dragged down by one very poor decision. It would be so easy to clear the air now too--indeed, that's what we all said to Jeffrey Levine but he refused to do the only thing that could have helped him out, which was to excuse himself from judging the competition he had just compromised. Indeed, if you listen too much to Jeffrey Levine without examining the facts for yourself your reputation may well go down just as his is doing.

    One last thought. Why don't you contact some of the Editors of some of the other great American poetry reviews connected with academic institutions and ask them what they think? Boston University's AGNI replied on-line when they were criticized for publishing a single poem of Jeffrey Levine, and gained a lot of kudos in the process. And do take note, they did not attack Jeffrey Levine personally but just acknowledged that the scandal did exist.

With very best wishes, Christoher Woodman


Maybe he never replied because you misspelled your own name...I know that would do it for me.
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2007, 11:30:19 AM »

Quote
Shadmarsh wrote:

Maybe she never replied because you misspelled your own name...I know that would do it for me.


Very good point, Shadmarsh--I  can certainly understand why such a misrepresentation would spook someone in such a high public position. Sending out 100s of form letters purporting to be personal critiques is obviously just a peccadillo by comparison. If the signature is authentic, who cares about the integrity of the contents?

Christopher
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Christopher Woodman
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2007, 12:51:44 AM »

Quote from: "Monday Love"

I am perfectly willing to admit that perhaps this is evolution of the highest order--that this is the best that can be done, given current market forces, and perhaps we should not complain.

This is Poetry adapting to the way things are in the best way possible.  I am really almost ready to admit this.

Part of me admires Jeff Levine.   I cannot deny this.



But the best way possible still sucks, Monday. Why go out of one's way to adapt at all?
 
I do like your analogy (if I'm reading you right) between po-biz and and postindustrial finance capital--new "instruments" for investors getting invented faster than anybody but a Wall St. economist can keep up with. All because there's too much capital around for actual production of goods to soak it all up. So trade paper for paper,  always newer and more ingenious kinds of paper. Or kinds of editing-judging-teaching scam. What'll Levine think of next? What sort of debased language will he use to sell it?

Maybe it's the poetry-promotion system that's adapting. Poetry itself doesn't have to, and neither do poets. Exile is still possible, though of course it sucks too in its own special way, and it isn't particularly romantic any more, if it ever was. But marginality can still be a kind of freedom.

Ed
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2007, 12:56:57 AM »

Whoa, suddenly I'm a guest, with no mugshot. What the...

Ed
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2007, 01:59:29 AM »

Ed!
Aha, so you weren't misrepresenting yourself after all. I thought you were so getting into this new paper stuff you didn't have time for your signature!


Seriously, you must log-in as a Member--otherwise you're just a Guest on this thread. Indeed, I want to take this opportunity to remind everybody of the fact that ANYBODY CAN POST ON THIS THREAD. You don't have to be a Member, and you certainly don't need to tell us who you are. Just click PostReply and you're in!

I myself would like very much to hear from any of you 4 visitors who feel that Jeffrey Levine is, in fact, an appropriate choice to lead the Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute. In your post you might explain why his behavior in the last 2 Tupelo contests should not disqualify him from this appointment. Has he shown himself to be an ethical Judge, is the question, and should he be chosen as a role model for graduate students who may one day be adminstering contests too?

You might want to help us to understand exactly what  the graduate students who sign up for the C/TP Publishing Institute will be doing as well, because we're getting so many mixed signals. And why has the Tupelo website gone blank on these details, when its own candidates will be the one's who are being judged?

There's so much explaining to do--why not start here?  

And I will listen to you very carefully too, I promise--I'll even take on some of the piranhas in our midst if I think they're getting into a "feeding frenzy!"

Christopher
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Christopher Woodman
Monday Love
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2007, 06:47:45 AM »

Yea, please.

Defend Levine, somebody.

We aren't going to bite.

Let's hash it out, and then maybe we'll smoke a peace pipe.

I wonder which hurts more?  "You're kind of running a scam, here" or "Your poetry's not that good"?  

I bet it's the latter.

Knowing poets, I bet it is.

Oh, sorry for misspelling Tupello up there.  Tupelo.  Sorry.

And don't worry about coming on here and 'legitimizing us.'  We're already more legitimate than you.  We tell the truth.

Come on, it'll make you feel good.

College of Charleston?  

Anyone?

It must be lovely in Charleston right now...

The flowers...the old veranda...
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2007, 08:34:01 PM »

Not believing my eyes I keep checking www.tupelopress.org to be sure I'm right--there really is no reference to the connection between the Tupelo First Book Prize (sorry, deadline just passed folks) and the Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute. There really isn't!

So what does that PERMISSION FORM you signed refer to?

Does anyone out there feel a little bit queasy, because you can tell us about it right here on this thread. Just click on Post Reply and you're in. Or send one of us a PM and we'll do our best to get your point of view out there in a sensitive and constructive way.
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Christopher Woodman
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WWW
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2007, 09:51:11 PM »

Tomorrow in LA at Ruskin Arts Club:

Thursday, April 26
WORKSHOP

Dinner workshop with Jeffrey Levine
(poet-publisher, Tupelo Press):
“Poetry, Prophecy, Revision and the Publisher’s Eye”

6-10pm
$75 with dinner
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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 #14 on: April 25, 2007, 11:07:58 PM »

Thank you, whoever you are, for the following response to our plea for others to participate--it's heart warming to know that some of you 100s and 100s of visitors are not just coming here for kicks but are actually willing to help us in our struggle to reform the poetry publishing business in America!

And keep the information coming--we deal with such contacts in complete confidence, we promise you. Indeed, credibility is the ONLY credit we care about!

Quote
UNHNOWN SOURCE
Subject: Tupelo Press Newsletter
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 15:56:39 -0400 (EDT)
From:Tupelo Press announce@tupelopress.org
                                                                                                                                                                       
The Publishing Institute: Credits & Credibility!
                                                                                                             
                                             Earn post-graduate credits and gain knowledge, insights, and job-related skills in publishing. Geared to folks in writing programs, The Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute is a month-long residency program at the College of Charleston (SC) that offers real world experience in the publishing of both books and journals.

                                             The Institute is jointly run by Carol Ann Davis and Garrett Dougherty, editors of the esteemed literary journal Crazyhorse, and Tupelo Press Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Jeffrey Levine. Using hands-on experience to supplement the curricula of MFA and PhD programs that focus primarily on craft, the Publishing Institute provides training for students to enter the workforce with editing and publishing skills.

                                             Registration deadline: May 1, 2007
                                             Program Dates: June 4-30, 2007
                                             For More Information: http://crazyhorse.cofc.edu/pubinstitute.html


Apparently the Tupelo Press sent out this announcement only today--almost certainly in response to the  repeated observation on www.foetry.com that there was no mention of it on www.tupelopress.org . Indeed, you had to come here to know about it at all!

But have a look, would you guess that the Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute had anything to do with First Books what's more with the Tupelo Prize? Or if you had signed one of those Permission Forms, would you be clearer as to who would be reading your precious manuscript where, and for precisely what purpose?

The lawyers must have really scrambled to put this one together! (I wonder if the tactic will be discussed in a C/TP Publishing Institute class? It could be an important publishing skill, after all, particularly if the students that enroll go on to use their teacher as a role model!)
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Christopher Woodman
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