THIS POST IS A CONTINUATION OF THE DISCUSSION OF JEFFREY LEVINE'S ETHICS AS A POET AND AN EDITOR THAT HAS BEEN TAKING PLACE ON THE "WORKSHOP THE EXPERTS: JEFFREY LEVINE " THREAD (LIT CRIT Section, "Poets, Books, and Poems"). URL http://foetry.com/forum/index.php?topic=1067.0
I think at this point we should look once again at Jeffrey Levine's Tupelo Open letter to me, just to be sure, and as an old man with no face to save or institution to defend or future to ensure I will offer it to you in its entirety. No white-out applied anywhere—neither to my name, nor to the name of my precious book, nor to the surprising reference to my poem called, appropriately enough, "Apologia Pro Vita Autistica!"
So here it is exactly as I, a Tupelo Press Open Reading hopeful, received it in Chiang Mai, Thailand on November 21st, 2006.
1.) The chronology of my response begins in fact the day before I received the letter. On November 20th I had sent off an entirely different m.s. as a submission for the Dorset Prize. The cover letter went like this:2007 Tupelo Press Dorset Prize
P.O. Box 539
Dorset, VT 05251
Dear Carol Ann Davis, Sarah Hannah, Ilya Kaminsky, Jeffrey Levine, and Sophia Stone,
So here we go again, even while I’m still feeling quite confident that Jeffrey Levine has in fact selected my
Gold Leaf on the Waters! during last summer’s Open Reading—no news is always good news when it comes to submissions! I also understand quite well that you will not read this letter unless you choose to publish me, but I’m very willing to take that risk!
So now I enclose an entirely new version of one of my other books for the 2007 Dorset Prize…
2.) On Novemver 22nd I visited Foetry.com for the first time and discovered my letter was not what it claimed to be. I stopped preparing the m.s. plus $295.00 I intended to send directly to Jeffrey Levine at his home in West Hartford, CT, as instructed, and instead submitted my first post to Foetry. You will find that letter on the “Tupelo” thread, Expatriate Poet, p. 5, Wed. Nov. 22, 2006, 4.12 pm. URL http://foetry.com/forum/index.php?topic=850.msg10808#msg10808
3.) On December 4th I posted a letter outlining my attempts to deal with the conflict between my sense of outrage on the one hand and my disbelief that such a great editor could have done something so sleazy on the other. In other words, it’s an attempt at reconciliation. At that point I decided to reveal my own name, very aware that as a poet who had not yet published a book I was almost certainly burning my bridges forever. “Tupelo” thread, Expatriate Poet, p. 8, Mon. Dec, 04, 2006, 2.42pm. URL http://foetry.com/forum/index.php?topic=850.msg11001#msg11001
4.) On January 5th I posted the poem, "Apologia Pro Vita Autistica," that Jeffrey Levine claimed he had liked enough to put up on his own bulletin board—that intervention moved on to a discussion of the ethical issues raised by such behavior, and the thread was moved to the LIT CRIT section and called “Judging Poetry and Integrity,” Expatriate Poet, p. 5, , Fri. Jan, 05, 2007, 2.25pm. URL http://foetry.com/forum/index.php?topic=937.msg11337#msg11337
I might add here that the parenthetical assertion that Jeffrey Levine had posted a poem from Gold Leaf on the Waters!
on his bulletin board certainly distracted me from questioning the rest of the letter, I was that pleased, and I suspect that was precisely the strategy behind the remark. My book must have been very difficult to fit into any of Jeffrey Levine’s 15 pigeon holes, it’s such an odd-man-out’s freak show, and he had to add a special bit of schtick to distract me from the fraudulent ‘scent’—because no other critical comments in the letter are specifically applicable to my work!
Indeed, I know that at least one other poet also had a poem on Jeffrey Levine’s bulletin board—a PM arrived in my Foetry mailbox from another maverick like myself who got the same distracting compliment!
5.) By January 9th I was able at last to express my full sense of outrage, and apologised publicly for having tried to defend the indefensible. . . “Tupelo” thread, Expatriate Poet, p. 10, Sun. Jan, 13, 2007, 12.26pm. URL http://foetry.com/forum/index.php?topic=850.msg11542#msg11542
There is a lot to review here, and new-comers should remember that this post follows a passionate discussion of the whole phenomenon of Jeffrey Levine the editor as poet, or vice versa if you see it the way he would like you to. You will find all that in the thread called "Workshop the Experts: Jeffrey Levine," LIT CRIT, "Poets, Books, and Poems." URL http://foetry.com/forum/index.php?topic=1067.0