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Author Topic: Tupelo  (Read 87748 times)
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Matt
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« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2006, 09:32:50 AM »

I don't usually like to be one to accentuate paranoia, but do you think we should be giving any thought to the shocking, out of the blue, nature of Levine's act?

I mean, has Tupelo really managed to be one of the more ethical presses over the recent years, or has Levine just done a good job of hiding his diminished ethics behind reasonably tight contest guidelines?

I personally find it hard to believe that a formerly ethical editor would suddenly do something as sleazy as this faux-critique-and-solicitation campaign as if a switch were flipped from good to evil (see Crusty the Clown doll).

Have there been other questionable acts in Tupelo's past?

It may be worth looking into.

-Matt
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leander
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« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2006, 09:51:06 AM »

I don't know about the past, but this episode has certainly changed Tupelo in my eyes in the present and the near future.  I had been planning on submitting to the chapbook contest coming up soon, and then to the firstbook contest.  But not any more.  When the odds are long already and the matter is something as subjective as poetry, trust is paramount.  Only a fool would trust Tupelo/Levine now, and Levine's behavior indicates that he believes that more deeply than anyone.

Leander
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arnold
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« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2006, 10:45:43 AM »

Amanda:

You make several very good points.  My intention with the comment about separating Levine from Tupelo was to ensure that none of the poets published by Tupelo are tarnished by this.  I'm sure most people can make that differentiation, but I was just trying to make that clear.  It's his behavior that is so appalling here (in so many ways!)

I, too, have no problem offering professional editorial services, and $295 is a very reasonable fee for doing so.  But, you don't include it in a letter under the Tupelo Press aegis; you don't do it after just praising a manuscript for a full paragraph, essentially saying it's almost good enough for us to take, but, and baldly say, that, if you utilize my private services, "It does not represent a prelude to publication by Tupelo Press, though, of course, I do not rule out the possibility in some cases."  Talk about manipulating a captive audience for your own financial benefit!  Especially, of course, since it's a "personal critique."
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Matt
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« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2006, 12:17:22 PM »

I started a new thread on the notion of charging for poetry editorial services in general: Charging for POETIC Editorial Advice.  (In the Publication Trends section)

Please contribute your opinions to this if you are interested.  

Thanks,
Matt
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Funk not only moves, it can RE-move, dig?"
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jimmy
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« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2006, 03:08:59 PM »

I e-mailed Levine to voice my vociferous disapproval of all this. He at first was defensive. But then he wrote that he will "go for a run" and think about calling the whole thing off and returning checks.

xxxjimmy
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Matt
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« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2006, 04:11:41 PM »

Quote from: "jimmy"
I e-mailed Levine to voice my vociferous disapproval of all this. He at first was defensive. But then he wrote that he will "go for a run" and think about calling the whole thing off and returning checks.

xxxjimmy


Hi Jimmy,

You must have been pretty persuasive to even get that much of an acknowledgment.

Can you tell us anything about what may have possessed him to do this . . . or to even imagine he would get away with it (in spite of the fact that the only factors in this particular equation are a mound of shit and a very large fan)?

If his run allows Levine to have a useful reckoning between "him and his god", and he decides to return people's money . . . that would indeed be unprecedented.  And poetry editors everywhere will want to see Levine roasted on a spit, no doubt (“how dare he make it seem to the peons that we could ever owe them an apology!”).

But even in this "ideal" circumstance (the return of submitters’ money, not the spit-roasting), the problem that this happened in the first place is still there looming.

I mean, after one goes this far, a lot of damage is already done (primarily to Tupelo's reputation) . . . and the spot on which the crime occurred will forever stink.

I know nothing about Levine, but I think I could accept his penitence on a personal level.  Still, Tupelo's reputation may be forever tainted . . . and even some of its past awards and publications overshadowed (which itself could be worrisome for poets published by Tupelo legitimately).

Yours,
Matt
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jimmy
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« Reply #36 on: November 17, 2006, 04:32:30 PM »

I don't think he's repentant, just doesn't want to deal with the criticism. He seems to really believe that he's helping poets by doing this.

xxxjimmy
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Matt
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« Reply #37 on: November 17, 2006, 05:06:53 PM »

Quote from: "jimmy"
I don't think he's repentant, just doesn't want to deal with the criticism. He seems to really believe that he's helping poets by doing this.

xxxjimmy


Hmm . . . well then, I guess that would qualify him as delusional.  Unless by “helping poets” he would mean the privileging of the few (“his” poets) at the expense of the many (people willing to pay submission and maybe even editorial fees based on deceptive, falsely flattering , solicitous letters) . . . rather than at his own expense or out of his spirit of “poetic altruism”.  

In which case, I would see him as more self-righteously sleazy than delusional.

Well, keep us posted.  

Thanks,
Matt
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Funk not only moves, it can RE-move, dig?"
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Ed Dupree
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« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2006, 05:59:59 PM »

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I, too, see nothing wrong with a professional offering critiques for a fee...



I don't see anything immoral in the strict sense, but it's very distatsteful to me. The wearing of the "professional" mantle, the hanging out of the shingle....  should we really think of ourselves as keeping a poetry-and-criticism shop? As credentialled experts dispensing pearls to our clients? Say I'm a young aspiring poet; I should value Levine's opinion... why, exactly? Because he's had books of his own accepted for publication? Well, what if I don't like them? (Levine is an example here, I don't know his work). Or maybe he's also published criticism; do I like it, respect it, share his critical principles? And is his professional status anywhere near as important as my answers to these questions? --Maybe the really important thing is his social power, prestige etc., which is something every professional posseses in this type of society. You might say it's the point of becoming a professional. It's the point of every fulsomely "brilliant" jacket blurb: "I'm really somebody, because I GET IT so deeply, dear reader, dear client. Don't try this at home."

Offering anything for a fee means making it a commodity. That's not good, in my book. We all have to do it, of course, offer our work in exchange for wages, salary, etc. But to make love to that employment, volunteering to sell our thoughts and feelings about poetry, for Christ's sake....

I know, I'm being unrealistic. So what? I seem to remember some dead poets who had some of that impulse.

Ed
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alan
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« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2006, 10:10:10 AM »

from someone who published with Tupelo and agreed to let me run this comment on condition of anonymity:

Quote
. . . Tupelo . . . is the dirtiest, sleaziest publisher I have had to deal with.  Since then, at least a dozen poets have left the press for various reasons.  Stay away from Tupelo.
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Alan Cordle
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« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2006, 10:30:55 AM »

I suppose I'm realistic. As a writer I can't "help" every aspiring poet/writer who comes along; I have limited time, and, quite frankly, I want to devote most of that time to my writing. Is that selfish? Of course it is; by their very nature writers tend to be selfish when it comes to their writing time. Charging a critique fee, then, is one way to keep the non-serious writers away and keeps critique requests at a minimum.  

I'm also a teacher; by taking on that mantle, I am selling my services, no? Perhaps for a song, but, nonetheless, students are paying me for my expertise. They don't always make that connection because I can't tell you how many times former students email me, wanting me to critique their work after the semester has ended. I always refuse, even if they offer to pay because of the possible conflict of interest. IF several years have passed and IF the writer has real talent, then I may critique their work, either for free or for a nomimal amount. But here's the thing: writers who have "it" really don't need my professional critique.

I don't hang out a shingle, though I'm seriously considering starting a paid book review business, which is quite different from a professional assessment of a work. I haven't done it yet, but it's something in the back of my mind. Now before anyone jumps on me for "selling out," just remember that the people who review books for the major review outlets ARE paid by their employers to write reviews. Granted, the authors don't pay for this service, so they have very little input into what goes into a review. On the other hand, traditional reviews are not an option for most self-published writers. A professional reviewer sees a need and fills it.

Here's what I wouldn't do: use my position of power to sell my services to students and former students, AND I would NEVER spam. Nor would I try to advertise here at foetry. As I said, I'm not doing this yet, and I may never do it. At the moment, I have other projects going, including a book I have just completed (and am getting ready to send out) and another book still rolling around in my head. I'm also doing eBay, which has been a rather unsuccessful enterprise.  :roll:

Also, I DO have some MAJOR concerns about reviewing books for a fee, mostly having to do with writer expectations. Would the author expect an automatic good review, even for a lousy book? This is something I would not be willing to do--a major stumbling block. Yet the author is paying a fee, and who wants to pay for a lousy review? So the possibility of a bad review would have to be clear to the consumer.
 
Ed, I love your purist attitude, but I have to ask you: if you take your car to a mechanic, do you expect him/her to repair it for free? Do you expect your surgeon to remove your appendix without being paid? Do you expect your local restaurant to feed you for nothing?

I don't see how it's different for professional writers who spend hours on their craft. I love my work, but I also need to make a living. I love having a roof over my head and eating regularly.

I don't criticize Jeffrey Levine for offering his professional services per se for a fee; he has a service to offer, and he should get paid for his professional opinion. Poets are not known for making loads of money.

HOWEVER, I do take Jeffrey Levine to task for using his position of power to prey on the vulnerable poets who submitted a reading fee with the expectation of (1) their manuscripts being considered for publication, and (2) receiving a personalized critique (albeit short). Levine exhibited a major lapse in ethics by sending that self-serving letter out to the poets not making the finalist list.

IMHO, he owes the non-finalists both a refund and an apology.

Bugz
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ennifer Semple Siegel

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Bugzita
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« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2006, 10:39:15 AM »

Question: Does Jeffrey Levine own Tupelo Press?

If not, he should be fired.

If he does, then writers would do well to boycott the pub.

Bugz
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ennifer Semple Siegel

One must always question wrongheaded conventional wisdom.
Ed Dupree
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« Reply #42 on: November 18, 2006, 11:16:06 AM »

Well yeah, Bugz, I do expect the surgeon to operate, the restaurant to feed me, etc., for free. You gotta understand that when I talk this way I'm  making my maximum philosophical demand for a different type of society. No offense to you or to anyone who hangs out a shingle--some of my best friends are shingle-hangers--but I'm arguing for a society in which no one would have to do that. Shopkeeping itself as objectively bad, as an unnecessary economic drag on the cultivation of the soul. And it's the shopkeeping society around us that gives the incentive for sleazeball behavior a la Levine's, for the writing of blurb-copy, ad-copy etc.  Doing what one has to do (within limits) to survive in bourgeois society is one thing, but arguing in favor of the society is another. I think it's crucial for artists and other pointy-heads (and regular folks!) to continue having the effrontery to sit in judgement on the whole mess and say "Down with it!"

Ed
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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 #43 on: November 18, 2006, 11:29:11 AM »

Ed & Bugzita:  You both have good points, but, in my humble opinion (and granted, I'm a newbie here) we're getting off track of Levine/Tupelo/Dorset.

Matt posted above:

I started a new thread on the notion of charging for poetry editorial services in general: Charging for POETIC Editorial Advice. (In the Publication Trends section)

Please contribute your opinions to this if you are interested.

Thanks,
Matt


It seems the discussion you guys are engaged in might be more appropriate
there?  Sorry to intrude if I'm off-base . . .
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Ed Dupree
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« Reply #44 on: November 18, 2006, 12:16:52 PM »

You're right Arnold. It's my hobby-horse, and I just love to ride....

Ed
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Could it be, we are not free? It might be worth looking into."
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