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Author Topic: Tupelo  (Read 83529 times)
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alan
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« on: November 10, 2006, 09:56:14 AM »

Remember this discussion?  I have heard that Tupelo has responded to some of the people who sent manuscripts along with a $35 reading fee with another invitation.  The new one says that for only(!) $300 the poet can get a more thorough critique.  I need your help. If you received one of these solicitations, please send a private message to me or email foetry AT foetry dot com.  Better yet, fax a copy to (360) 246-5459. I promise to protect your identifying details, such as your name and title of your manuscript.  But I think it's important for us to know and disclose how many of these letters were sent.
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Alan Cordle
alan
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2006, 11:55:27 AM »

I have confirmation that at least three of these letters went out.
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Ed Dupree
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2006, 10:46:33 AM »

Well hell, I'll do it for $275. In fact I'll beat any competitor's price by 5%.

Ed
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leander
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2006, 05:05:57 PM »

I don't mean to pile on Tupelo, which previously has been praised on this site for having good contest rules, but:  I saw that the deadline for the Dorset Prize has been extended.  That strikes me as a bad sign.  Is there no prizeworthy manuscript among the current entries?  Or is the contest just not generating enough income?  This year alone I've noted several contests extending deadlines.  I would think it would be better to stick to the initial plan and endure a monetary loss if need be.  And if the contest proves economically or aesthetically unfeasible, then don't hold it again.  If one can not hold a contest with such firmness, the contest should never have been undertaken.

Leander
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alan
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2006, 05:26:28 PM »

I agree with you about the deadlines.  It's probably not even legal to do that, but hey -- I'm no attorney.  But it is, at the least, a bad faith move and a lot of presses are guilty of doing that.

Perhaps Levine is waiting to see who, of all of the poets he sent the $295 critique offers, will pony up.  I quote from the letter (which I'll post within the next 24 hours):
Quote

 . . . I urge you to revise each poem as suggested above . . . re-submit the manuscript to our Dorset Prize, where it will automatically skip over the first round of readings.  (Think about the manuscript review -- I believe that an exacting and dispassionate tour through your manuscript will work for you).

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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
alan
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2006, 08:39:38 PM »

In Latest News
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Alan Cordle
Bugzita
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2006, 04:53:32 AM »

Wowza!

That Levine letter is reminiscient of the flattery heaped on by the ghouls at poetryDOTcom.

When scammers are trying to part you from your money, they sure can heap a pile of sweet-smelling s**t on you, can't they?

Shame on Jeffrey Levine for using his editorial position in such a manner for personal gain.

About two months, some outfit came to town, promising suckers that they could rake in the dough selling on eBay. Smelling a big ugly scam, I didn't go to the "free" seminar, but I heard that the "free" seminar turned into a $95.00 DVD and a return for a two-day seminar, which then evolved into the outfit hawking a program costing over $2,000.

Seems like Levine has been taking lessons from the old bait and switch confidence men and needs some refresher courses in ethics.

I have a pretty high tolerance level when it comes to foet activities, but this kind of BS REALLY burns me.

Where are you, AWP? Poets & Writers? CLMP?

Has this become an acceptable practice in literary circles?

If so, I think I'm going to be sick.

Bugz
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ennifer Semple Siegel

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Bugzita
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2006, 05:05:58 AM »

By the way, I have nothing against known writers reading and critiquing manuscripts (and getting paid to do so), but, usually, the writer wanting help is the one who seeks the critique, usually through a former professor or a referral, right?

Using a generic mailing list filled with non-winning poets seems especially reprehensible to me--that is just preying on writers who are already vulnerable to shameless flattery.

Sheesh!

Bugz
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ennifer Semple Siegel

One must always question wrongheaded conventional wisdom.
Briggs Seekins
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2006, 09:14:21 AM »

I thought I was jaded beyond ever being shocked by foetry antics. But this is a new low. Groups like the AWP should be lining up to condemn this. In rigged contests, the perps can offer up all kinds of sophistries about how they feel they picked the best manuscript and served a higher truth. But what on earth can somebody like Levine say to justify sending out hundreds of identical letters that are worded to sound individually specific? This seems like a special case of foetry at its most decadent and deceitful. Does Levine have any sort of academic associations? I can't imagine this being consistent with the ethical standards (ha! ha! ha!--no, seriously) expected from a member of an academic community. If he is a member of any University faculties, I reccomend that his department chair, his dean, and all the trustees of his institution be made fully aware of this snake oil scam.
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Monday Love
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2006, 09:31:51 AM »

Quote from: "alan"
I agree with you about the deadlines.  It's probably not even legal to do that, but hey -- I'm no attorney.  But it is, at the least, a bad faith move and a lot of presses are guilty of doing that.

Perhaps Levine is waiting to see who, of all of the poets he sent the $295 critique offers, will pony up.  I quote from the letter (which I'll post within the next 24 hours):
Quote

 . . . I urge you to revise each poem as suggested above . . . re-submit the manuscript to our Dorset Prize, where it will automatically skip over the first round of readings.  (Think about the manuscript review -- I believe that an exacting and dispassionate tour through your manuscript will work for you).



"I urge you to revise each poem as suggested above...re-submit the manuscript to our Dorset Prize, where it will automatically skip over the first round of readings."

Ouch.

The "Dorset Prize" is now a prostitute in a store window.

The Foets just don't get it, do they?
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Ed Dupree
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2006, 09:54:27 AM »

Yeah, it's a new low, as Briggs says.  Some friends and I used to joke & call Iowa the Famous Writers' School, but now Levine is really hitting rock bottom. Draw the Leprechaun! Imagine the corruption of consciousness required to write "the most sacred calling I know" while making the good old American huckster pitch.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.


Ed
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Could it be, we are not free? It might be worth looking into."
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Ed Dupree
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2006, 10:26:32 AM »

Seems pretty sloppy too. Didn't Levine realize recipients of his letter would compare notes & expose him?
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Could it be, we are not free? It might be worth looking into."
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arnold
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2006, 10:27:44 AM »

Briggs Seekins said

But what on earth can somebody like Levine say to justify sending out hundreds of identical letters that are worded to sound individually specific?


Slow down, Briggs, nobody's said anything about "hundreds" at this point.  This is an extremely serious matter, but it doesn't help to exaggerate.  Alan mentioned 3 confirmations, I've been told by 4 people that they received the exact same letter which has been posted here.  In addition, last Friday Levine sent out an email concerning the 2 week extension on the Dorset Prize deadline; in that note, he also extended the deadline an extra 2 weeks (until December 30th) for anyone taking advantage of his private editing services.  Thereby violating yet another of his own contests's explicit guidelines.  He's leading the judging panel this year (supposedly to keep the "anonymous process" even more fair!), and the Dorset Prize guidelines explicitly state:  “Tupelo Press is thoroughly committed to safeguarding the integrity of our contests. You should not enter this year's contest if you have studied with, or have a close personal relationship with any of the panelists, or if any of the panelists has helped shape your manuscript in any manner. Similarly, panelists will set aside any manuscript where—for whatever reason—selecting a particular manuscript might have the appearance of impropriety.”  So, if you send him $295 to personally edit your manuscript, you get an extra 2 weeks that other poets do not get, to enter a contest (for another $25) that his own guidelines state you should be ineligible for.  And Tupelo's guidelines are widely considered to be the poetry contest world's most exemplary, open and transparent.   The only thing open about it appears to be Mr. Levine's unabashed disregard of his own rules!  

I also think the focus should be kept on Mr. Levine here; Tupelo Press has published some wonderful books by very good poets.  For whatever reason, he personally seems to be behaving in a heinous fashion.

Alan:  a suggestion.  Post a link on the news page to this forum; it seems the only way of linking from there is through the "Please contact me" at the bottom.   Seems like a more prominent and clear link would draw more attention . . .  Also, maybe moving it to Presses or Prizes (Dorset) might get more attention.   I'm a newbie here, so I may be off base in these suggestions. (Editor's note: link done / Tupelo "main" page in the works -- suggestions are always welcome! -- Alan)
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Wilson
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2006, 11:31:14 AM »

On the separate subject of deadlines... over the years I have seen deadlines extended.  Tupelo is somewhat a different case, I think.  I agree that if they got 35,000 dollars off the 1000 submitters in the open submission period, then there really is not a good reason for them to extend their deadlines.

If I set up a business and I ran any operation, I would have margins.  The first margin would be the bare minimum needed to proceed with the venture. If I did not make that minimum, then I would be forced to consider the following steps: 1) send everyone their money back; 2) if I were close, extend the deadline; 3) eat the loss, probably make no money on the winner and go out of business.  

I have gotten my entry fee sent back to me a few times when the contest was dropped that year for lack of enough participation. I have seen my fair share of deadline extensions too.  Again, I think it is easy to consider all presses and their owners are some sort of demon put on earth to eat the souls of writers, especially when you see something like the Tupelo antics.  It would be much wiser for the mob to focus on the one guilty party.

Getting your check sent back to you feels like a bigger let down, than the contest deadline being extended, btw.

Here is another thought: perhaps the deadline extensions are due to a lack of participation of entrants as an effect of what Foetry.com has exposed.  Maybe in general, all contest entries are down.
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alan
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2006, 12:39:07 PM »

Quote
I submitted to Tupelo's open reading period twice, once last year and this year. Last year's manuscript was titled, <edited #1> This year's manuscript was titled, <edited #2>.   Levine wrote back to me the first time and said that he couldn't publish my manuscript but said it was very good. I'm not that naive. I know what disingenuous praise is, especially as a come on to join workshops.  I also received the advice to send the manuscript directly to him for the Tupelo contest.  I thought this was irregular, given the alleged anonymous entry specification.  But my suspicions were allayed because he discussed specific poems of mine in detail.  I submitted again this year, with a different title but with about 75% of the old poems.  25% were new poems or poems revised according to his suggestions. This new rejection from Levine didn't mention my previous submission and seemed more impersonal, but he said my poems were good.  I was very put off by his pitch for personal editing for $295, which I though was  inappropriate for a contest. I had a gut feeling that this whole contest was a money making sham, but I guess the  reference to specific poems fooled me. I thank you for warning about this. I won't make the same mistake.
-- Anonymous
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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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