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Author Topic: Tupelo  (Read 76560 times)
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Monday Love
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« Reply #135 on: January 13, 2007, 10:19:01 PM »

Quote from: "Chinatown"
I think Foetry should take a bow: y'all had a lot to do with this. But Levine isn’t finished by any means - he's just been thwarted. Like the terminator, he'll be back....

Seriously, I think there is this trend or this thought out there in Po Biz now along the lines of "all these people who think they're poets are cluttering up the system and they're not even buying our little books of poesy, so why not tap them for a few bucks? they can afford it, surely, and the ends justify the means." of course the means always corrupt the ends, if the means is by exploiting others. we're going to see more and more of this type of thing, of these "publishing institutes," these sucker scams that allude to some kind of "in," and then bait and switch.

Levine will implode one day in a great fireball of self-righteousness and recriminations. wait and see.


'he'll be back'

I agree

'all these people who think they're poets are cluttering up the system and they're not even buying our little books of poesy, so why not tap them for a few bucks?

exactly, well put

'Levine will implode one day in a great fireball of self-righteousness and recriminations'

but can't you people see?...I...was...doing...it...for...poooooetry!...whoooooosh....Ba-Blam!
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leander
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« Reply #136 on: January 13, 2007, 10:48:50 PM »

By almost consenus, Tupelo had been a good publishing house.  The various schemes JL was working this past year were truly terrible.  He has apologized, hopefully because he sees the error of his recent judgments, and not, like most apologies these days, merely necessitated because the plan didn't succeed.  I'm still a bit apprehensive because what was wrong was a long series of judgments; one has to wonder how a once esteemed editor can be so wrong.  I am hopeful that a chastened Tupelo will reaffirm its past commitment to the right values.  I would have gone further, urging JL to resign from Tupelo, if there can be a Tupelo without JL, but this apology is at least something.
L
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Expatriate Poet
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« Reply #137 on: January 14, 2007, 12:26:10 AM »

Quote from: leander
Quote
By almost consenus, Tupelo had been a good publishing house.  The various schemes JL was working this past year were truly terrible.  He has apologized, hopefully because he sees the error of his recent judgments, and not, like most apologies these days, merely necessitated because the plan didn't succeed.  I'm still a bit apprehensive because what was wrong was a long series of judgments; one has to wonder how a once esteemed editor can be so wrong.  I am hopeful that a chastened Tupelo will reaffirm its past commitment to the right values.  I would have gone further, urging JL to resign from Tupelo, if there can be a Tupelo without JL, but this apology is at least something.
L


Many thanks to you all on this site who have made this happen--and for the refuge you gave me when I was so gratuitously abused by the Editor-in Chief and Publisher of a specialist press that had seemed to me beyond reproach. What a shock for me, what a terrible, terrible let down.

I don't want to say how, but as a result of my contacting you I know for certain that there are younger poets out there who are too frightened to speak out, who feel they cannot reveal themselves without fatally damaging their prospects. Indeed, you at Foetry.com are speaking for a whole hidden generation of poets--and what has just transpired is proof that you're not only speaking with a voice that matters but with one that can really change things!

When the scandal burst in my face, and I mean like a balloon full of feces, a favourite weapon in dirty Asian politics, I wrote directly to Jeffrey Levine--and with encouraging words too, even then. I tried to explain to him how he might have lost his way in this matter and what he might do to begin to reclaim himself. This apology is a step in the right direction, I agree--but it is inconceivable to me that Jeffrey Levine is not going to make the very most minimal next one as well--and that is to remove himself from the Dorset Prize Panel. Only by doing that can he show the world that he understands how his very ill-considered offers of special 'assistance' to some candidates damaged the integrity of that competition--indeed, only by doing that can he remove the dirty shadow that will inevitably hang over whoever wins the prize this year.

Our correspondence broke down over this suggestion, I think--if you're reading me now, Jeffrey, or anyone else close enough to tell you what I say--excuse yourself, take some time off, and come back with a new commitment to the code of ethics Tupelo so proudly proclaims!

And all the best to you too, Jeffrey--and I really mean that, speaking as an older man who has also gotten carried away in the past by his own significance, and has had to pay the penalty for it.

Christopher
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Christopher Woodman
Ed Dupree
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« Reply #138 on: February 07, 2007, 12:17:59 PM »

Quote
So, with profound apologies to those who may be disappointed by my decision, nevertheless I have returned unread all of the manuscripts that were sent to me for a full, manuscript review.



Pardon my lateness chiming in here, I've been away from the site for a while. But Levine's apology strikes me as not much of one at all. He apologizes only to those who sent him $300 and are now getting their money back instead of the goods (?) they paid for. There's no admission of wrongdoing here nor anywhere else in his open letter. The letter is classic bureaucratese. "I'm sorry you perceived my slap to your face as hostile or hurtful."

Ed
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Could it be, we are not free? It might be worth looking into."
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Wilson
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« Reply #139 on: February 07, 2007, 07:51:38 PM »

You are right.  ...but then Levine IS a lawyer and lawyers do not easily admit  guilt.
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Wils
Thewayitworks
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« Reply #140 on: February 18, 2007, 11:05:47 PM »

Where have we heard before I did it to please the gods of poetry, to benefit and advance poetry. Well, that's the Ramke /Graham line. The only problem is that this always seems to involve money.

This is the perfect opportunity for class action suit. Also go after his non-profit status and put him out of business.
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Thewayitworks
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« Reply #141 on: February 18, 2007, 11:55:32 PM »

.... the great and memorable books at Tupelo? Kate Gale? She's returning the favor by publishing Levine at Red Hen. Do we need more Ray Gonzalez poetry? A number of the names on the list are the same MFA crowd, most with unmemorable first books. A few are mediocre poets who have inhabited the lower tier of a number of small presses for decades. As for Ko Un, or whatever his name is, each country can have a poet that the local literary association nominates. It's no different than loons nominating some wacko for the Peace Prize, someone who assuredly does not deserve it.

There's always a perennial short list of nominees for the Nobel in Literature (and bookies in the UK make book on the odds). Typically year after year the short list for poetry and fiction include P. Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, Tomas Transtromer, Bei Dao, etc. This  guy is none of the above. He writes work that is not particularly memorable, innovative, etc.

One other way to put this into play with Tupelo is to file a complaint with the NEA. You can do it publicly and/or by not revealing your identity. The NEA would then have to investigate. Whatessment fo what he's been doing? Of course the NEA has its own problems so I don't know how far that would go.
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Monday Love
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« Reply #142 on: February 19, 2007, 09:00:55 AM »

Yea, let's go after Levine with our skulls on fire.  

That would be the last straw, if Tupelo's list truly lacks any memorable books.

We have the Red Hen/Tupelo favortism of Gale/Levine.

We have the Levine scam (consumer fraud, essentially) and Levine's refusal to apologize (he defends himself and his behavior, in fact)

We have all the money being made under the cover of 'non-profit status.'

Thewayitworks, could you post the steps (for dummies) one would take for those two actions you mentioned?

And could someone also point to the memorable Tupelo press books?

It would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. I did notice our friend Simon DeDeo from Rhubarb Is Susan (the poetry review site) was one of the latest Levine finalists for the Dorset.  Janet Holmes has recently been sending Simon her Ashata books to review and--surprise!--he gives them glittering praise.  Perhaps we could peek at Simon's book and see the quality therein to get an idea of the kind of work which automatically jumps over the first screening.
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sdedeo
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« Reply #143 on: February 19, 2007, 01:22:38 PM »

two of the GutCult poems are in the ms. --

http://www.gutcult.com/Site/litjourn6/html/SD1.htm
http://www.gutcult.com/Site/litjourn6/html/SD2.htm

this was in the ms., but I've taken it out --

http://www.typomag.com/issue06/dedeo.html

oh, and Chicago Ontology is still in --

http://rhubarbissusan.blogspot.com/2006/08/chicago-ontology.html

The version I sent out in 2006 has more new material. What's somewhat irritating is that some of my favourite work from the ms. has been rejected by the journals.

I received a very nice e-mail from an "elder statesman" type that was encouraging but also said that about 25% of the ms. needed to be cut (the 2006 is about 90 pages or so.)

My new work is some much more long-form dramatic monologue kind of stuff which I'm very excited about. There's enough there that I can construct an ms. with the bad replaced by this new material that I'm quite happy with, should the ms. I sent off last year be taken up.

As for "automatically jumping over" the first screening, I have no reason to think I did; as for the snarky "surprise!" -- haven't we been over this ground? I'm as game for gossip as the next person, but I try to keep rhubarb focused on the poems and not the means of production.

Writers that I know and like on the Tupelo list -- let's see: Annie Finch, Ilya Kaminsky, Dan Beachy-Quick, Catherine Daly. I think they (the press) could be a little more adventurous in some cases -- I'd like to see them take more risks. It's hard to imagine Tupelo printing some of my favourite young writers like Eugene Ostashevsky, say, or Lara Glenum.

But -- OK, I know this is somewhat heretical -- I think you can trace some of that conservatism to the fact that Tupelo does actually run mostly as a "contest press" with screeners and rounds and so forth.

It doesn't mean that they can't publish good work, but it does mean that some work -- the kind that annoys a non-negligable fraction of readers, or the kind that (as in Eugene's case) takes up some of the rhetoric and tactics of "bad verse" -- just won't get through.
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Thewayitworks
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« Reply #144 on: February 19, 2007, 08:55:13 PM »

.....but I made copies of your poems, pasted them on a board, took them out in the back yard and invited the neighborhood kids to throw rocks.

Annie Finch ok. Beachy-Quick and Daley a scam. A real shame as there are many older writers who could benefit from publication.

I too can write those kinds of poems:

ME TOO

mommy mommy broke rock
in head cry crib blue chick

cloud horizon Macey's
luggage department girl

girl blocked by France
with no underpants

busy foeting to scam
poem found in pants

girls says no poem
surprise big some

thing rises
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Monday Love
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« Reply #145 on: February 20, 2007, 10:33:20 AM »

Simon,

Thanks for your reply.  You are engaged with poetry, as few others are, and I like that.

Perhaps the 'surprise' in reference to Janet Holmes was snarky--but isn't it also true?  The comment is really more on 'how things tend to work' than a judgement on your character--which I am convinced is sincere.  I think you believe every word you write, which is more than I can say for most.

As for those first two poems included in your finalist manuscript for the Dorset Prize, I can't help but notice you belong to that school of mind which is overly impressed by the Emersonian 'every-word-contains-a-magical-door' theory.  

You have perfected the ability to produce complex universes with just a few words, and this is admirable on a certain level, but unfortunately this process tends to implode upon the reader as it expands triumphantly in your own mind.

Your first stanza, for instance, is a triumph of density, a testament to the power of words: "altitude of I" contains so much interest and meaning that the reader hates to move on to subsequent lines, and this 'hate' is what trips you up, 'hate' born out of admiration and love.  Temporality is overtaken by the combining possibilites of your referents to such an extent that your poem is held hostage by it; you've loaded up the train with such freight ('eye fountain' alone buries the mind in poetic-associative radiance) that the poor poem cannot move.   By the time we reach "the video-loop of star-gesture" we are pinned to the floor by your magnificence and are begging for our lives.

This is not to say that you are not aware of this; it is all the more difficult for you to give up this quixotic writing proces precisely because you are aware of the delimiting authority which argues against you as I am arguing now: it forces you to defend your world of "Overtakeless" and "altitude of I" and "Authenticate my shadow!"  You are prometheus bound to a rock of the reader's injustice.  Your poem is a tiny box which contains the light of a million suns, and this plea, 'authenticate my shadow' is, in fact, an unconsious cry by Simon to the reader: 'authenticate my poem!'  Your poem is a poor shadow, but it transcribes universes, there is so much in it.  But it refuses to do what a poem is supposed to do: move in a limited space.   Your poem suffers from the vanity of the multiform, even with the line, "make me what you will" an apology for the plea to 'authenticate' which just occured.  Once the process begins, you can't talk your way out of this mess.  The poem will try, but it cannot rescue itself.  "Altitude of I" and "eye fountain" are marvelous inventions.  But here's the problem: it is all invention, and nothing else.  Even your self-conscious attempts within the poem itself to rectify the machinery of it all are doomed to failure.  There really is no life, here (to the reader, I mean, to you, I'm sure this poem swims with life) nothing we can call literature; it is a bunch of scintilating chords with no music.

It goes without saying you have more poems; this is just my immediate take.

Monday



Overtakeless – altitude of I –
the agony nightshade, the eye
fountain. Resurrected:

the video-loop of star-gesture,
exhaled, exhausted, sped
to the anorexic yearn for less,

the science of low light.
Authenticate my shadow!
Make me what you will, you

American cryptogram,
tarmacadam hymn,
New Jersey morning!
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sdedeo
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« Reply #146 on: February 20, 2007, 12:41:28 PM »

Hello Monday,

It's funny -- despite the fact that the majority of my online poetry "presence" is devoted to discussing and evaluating the works of others, it makes me queasy to see my own work on the mat. Perhaps, in the end, this is why I never thought about doing an MFA. In any case, though, thank you for your comments on my work there.

When it comes to writing, I suppose I waver between two limits: on the one hand I want a poem to "do something" and, like most things that do something these days, if I sit down and write such a poem it does come out occasionally as "Aubade" did -- sort of opaque and polished and somewhat useless, like an uncharged iPod.

On the other hand, I also have a sentimental (or if you want, Emersonian) streak: I want the poem to have some kind of affective subjectivity, which comes out in these monologues I've been working on. The one I'm most happy about is a long poem called The Fashions, which is an apostrophe to Willow Rosenberg by an amalgam of Leo Strauss, Humbert Humbert and Allan Bloom.

I think if I had to diagnose the contemporary failings of the "good" poets, it's that they swing precisely between these two poles: hermeticism and sentiment. So I may be a part of that, no doubt. I don't claim to exceed my era (right now, but ask me in a few years.)

Oh, I saw you chatting about Joan Houlihan. Joan and I were in a class together a long time ago, and I liked her work a lot. I liked her Boston Comment stuff -- even though I strongly disagree with her critical method -- it was honest, refreshing and very much "here is what I am seeing" and I think that is just exceedingly valuable. I think she is right that contemporary poetry is not playing by certain rules -- I just disagree that this is of necessity an argument for its crapness.

It reminded me of John Searle's replies to the deconstructionists like Jonathan Culler: I actually kind of like reading Derrida, but I love Searle's response. You can read some of it for free on the NYRB site (I recommend paying the $3 for the original article):

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/5964

I didn't follow the exact story as to the writing critique seminars that she is involved with. She's been doing that for awhile, at the Concord Poetry Center (is that the name?) I think she would be a good workshop leader, just from memories of her contributions to the class all those years ago: Joan's remarks were perceptive. I think if you know what you're getting into (a strong personality with strong opinions), it would be valuable.

Yours,

Simon
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Monday Love
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« Reply #147 on: February 22, 2007, 07:30:40 PM »

Simon,

Thanks, that Searle made my day; I really enjoyed that.  I too, have enjoyed Derrida, but Searle leads me out of Derrida's cave.  A 'challenging' sophist such as Derrida is still a sophist.

Houlihan dislikes contemporary poetry; but so do most--even the poets who practice it; she wins points for saying the emperor WC Williams has no clothes, but her general objection to contemporary poetry: it's too prosy, it's not poetic enough, it's not deep enough, is so facile and sophomoric that she actually damages her case in the long run.

It is quixotic in the extreme to fault prose for the decline of poetry, as Houlihan does.  All excellent poetry reads as excellent prose, too; intentionally writing away from good prose is the great commonplace error of the novice poet, and Houlihan embraces this very error at the very start of her critique, dooming it at once.   Even successful verse (which Houlihan stops far short of advocating) resembles good prose.

Houlihan feels she is right, as do many, but the inability to articulate why she is right consigns her cause to rhetoric which cannot outrun its logical contradictions.  And then when one reads Houlihan's poetry and finds it similar to the very stuff to which she commonly objects, the failure of her critical enterprise becomes palpable.

I sympathize with her impulses, but I wouldn't follow her into battle.


Monday
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Thewayitworks
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« Reply #148 on: February 23, 2007, 01:14:58 AM »

... I'll post NEA complaint process soon.

Houlihan writes some perceptive and biting pieces. Exciting mostly because no one takes any poets to task and she takes on a few names. Some of the columns seem to be settling scores with locals, but mostly she is dead on. Unfortunately, she is like most critics who write poetry (all head and nothing below the neck). In fact, I find her poetry pretentious and airy and not worthy of the laudatory comments on the back of the books. And she seems to be playing the game and connections: in the Iowa anthology edited by guy she teaches with at Concord -she runs it so she hired him? Has joined herself at the hip to Franz Wright. Does the normal Fred Marchant circle at Concord. Might be a good critic but falls short as poet.

As for Tupelo and Levine, I think that all of this was fairly predictable. There are any number of presses out there in trouble. What's interesting is that without a Foetry.com clearing house where all the rumors, facts and personal experiences collide you really wouldn't have a good picture of what is happening. As has been said: No one is standing up at AWP and raising their hand and saying I cheated. No poets are interviewing for jobs  and telling anyone that their shiny new prize book was because someone cheated on their behalf. I mean English Departments will hire based on winning a book publication at National Poetry Series, Iowa or Georgia.

So now since the creation of Foetry we've seen Georgia exposed and series ended (Ramke resigns in disgrace), North Texas (Cairns resigns in disgrace), Zoo (Azevedo implodes and disappears and won't answer questions (where did all the money go?)), Tupelo caught with pants down ( still plenty of questions for him), Io wa exposeed and disgraced and Levine quits as Iowa Poetry Prize judge and supposedly Graham quits judging and Cleveland State exposed (though they say they don't care). So this is where it all goes down.

For those who rip Foetry.com: No one is standing up and saying yes I did it and promising to enroll in a ten step program, Georgia still won't release docs, poets disgraced are still spinning and changing entries at Wikipedia, and Iowa MFAers come here to say it is all a lie and when asked a single question (did you know so and so who picked you)  disappear without answering THE question.

These folks are all trying ( with the help of their mommy and daddy poet helpers) to guarantee their non-compete publications, their jobs, their grants, their comfortable life without doing it honestly. Shame on them.
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Monday Love
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« Reply #149 on: February 23, 2007, 09:19:15 AM »

TheWayitworks,

We're not going to hear a peep from the AWP because foetic cheating is entwined in higher education itself--this is Publish or Perish, Inc. we're taking on.  Schools are not only highly competitive, insecure places within themselves, but highly competitive with each other.  Schools want 'name poets' (prize-winning poets) on their mastheads so they can draw in students to pay increasingly high tuition costs which are crushing a whole generation with debt as we speak.

A dean or college president might take notice if a professor is a nazi or has got a sex issue.  Foetry right now still looks like 'peer recommendation' to deans and college presidents; I doubt any of Jorie's peers at Harvard care that she's a Foet, and so the best we can do is shame Jorie with our site and get a buzz going so that day-to-day reflections on foetry start to become a reality so that things eventually change from the bottom up.  Top-down always makes for a more efficient revolution, true, but I don't think there's one university elite who's upset about what we're talking about on Foetry.com yet, is there?    This in itself reveals a disconnect in higher education which deserves a separate study by those of us here.  My guess is that smart, connected people are too involved themselves in the corrupt system, or too busy writing their books and doctoral papers to help out.

I think Foetry is a huge, exciting intellectual issue, even beyond the 'who is cheating?' nuts and bolts detective/legal work, and right now the intellectual issue is just too big for anyone--even Matt, even Monday Love--to grasp.

The most recent exchange between Simon and I regarding Deconstruction and Joan Houlihan may sound like a mere egg-head blab-fest to many, but these sorts of issues: speech v. writing, the criticism of Ms. Houlihan are crucial, I believe.

Let me just touch on this matter as briefly as I can:

The following does relate to Foetry: Speech is far more important than Writing, both philosophically and practically; foets do 99.9 % of their foeting in the realm of speech, not writing, and this is why it so difficult to 'smoke them out.'

Houlihan, her courage in taking on 'name poets' aside, fails essentially as a critic/poet because she assumes (like most naive practioners of belles lettres) that Writing is a positive counter to Speech--she pleads in her essays, for instance, for poetry that is 'deep' and 'moves us' and is 'poetic' and so forth.   Houlihan errs in the same way the particpants in Plato's Symposium do, who expound positive features for Love, until Socrates overturns the previous line of argument by describing Love as lack, as absence, as guile and ingenuity, with no measurable, positive features at all.  Writing hides Speech, in fact, just as Foetic behavior is hidden behind poems and blurbs, the corruption swallowed up by whatever Foets' scribble in the public realm.  Ideally, Speech would be sufficient; it is only because of a host of inadequacies, poor memory, lack of human trust, vanity, envy, and lastly, death, that Writing exists at all.
All writing is an argument that is argued, and poetry puts emphasis on the arguing rather than the argument itself.  

If I want to convey to you right now some truth, I will do everything I can to put the argument before you as nakedly and clear as I can possibly present it.

There is only one reason why I would clothe my argument in an additional argument, or 'poetize' my argument to you right now, and this reason is not a positive one, but a negative one; it is a reason entirely based on human fallibility.  That is, if I feared you, or if I longed to deceive you in some way, or I felt that you would never understand or comprehend the essence of what I am saying, or if I wanted something from you, or felt overwhelmed by some emotion, or I was trying to impress you with word-play or rhetorical ability, only then, would I add to my writing any feature at all which is termed 'poetic.'

So for Houlihan to beg for 'good' poetry, poetry that has not had the poetry taken out of it, which is precisely how she phrases it in that first essay in Boston Comment, reveals the naivete of the whole enterprise, for the contemporary poetry she finds lacking is anything but well-reasoned prose presenting clear arguments.  This is why her critical mission is buried in contradiction and bound to failure.

This is so crucial, because if the aesthetics issue is hopelessly murky (and I hope I haven't murked it up further!), it will be all that more difficult to convince those in higher education that the foetry issue is important.

Speech and writing are different, but confusion regarding them will sap morals up and down the frontier.

Monday
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