So the Harvard Crimson broke the big news that sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan (unintentionally?) plagiarized work by Megan McCafferty. It’s true that this is commercial publishing and a half-million dollar advance was involved. But why did the Harvard Crimson kill a story implicating *star* poet/professors, Jorie Graham and Peter Sacks in a fraudulent contest in which Graham awarded a prize to Sacks?
He is not only her colleague, but equally disturbing, also her husband. The judge (Graham)’s name was kept secret until foetry.com obtained open records from the University of Georgia Press, the contest sponsor.
Is it only acceptable for the Crimson to go after their students who succeed too early? Shady professors are off limits? Graham has awarded prizes to students, friends, and lovers in various poetry contests with fees collected from entrants in amounts estimated at more than $100,000. Graham also told one foetry.com member that “most manuscripts are thrown out unread.”
When the Boston Globe wrote about the Graham story, she wrote to the paper denying she selected her husband’s book and they printed both her letter and a retraction. Foetry.com then obtained an additional set of records that showed Graham’s complicity.
Clearly Jorie Graham thinks she controls the media. Perhaps it’s because she was once the daughter-in-law of Katherine Graham, former head of the Washington Post, or maybe it’s because Graham’s father, Bill Pepper, was in charge of the Newsweek Rome bureau.
Incidently, the reporter at the Crimson working on the Graham/Sacks story was Lulu Zhou. The one who reported on this plagiarism is named David Zhou. Hypocrisy. It’s all in the family.