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 storyimplicating *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.

Reptilian brains often trigger a strike first response in the puny forearms: Knock the tops off of buildings, topple the electrical towers, fight Mothra’s larvae.

Many of you already knew that Boise State’s Janet Holmes just can’t get much right. But only two of you correctly guessed a surprise victim in her careless (and libelous) attempts to “out” foetry’s administrator.

And now the truth is out: Janet Holmes once speculated that Jeffrey Levine, editor of Tupelo Press, was the person behind Foetry.com. Strangely enough, Janet was Tupelo’s first contest judge. And Janet’s hubby, Al Greenberg, was published by Tupelo in 2003 under circumstances — according to Janet — that would trouble foetry members. So why did Holmes think that Levine was behind Foetry?

I have no answer, but Holmezilla is a person who snickers at the sexual harassment of students by professors, her Sawtooth contest winner’s lovelife, and poems about Foetry.com, among other things. Maybe it’s time for Janet to retire to Monster Island. We must save POETRY!

Trust No One

David Lehman, who edits the bestselling (for poetry) Best American Poetry Series, has often been criticized for his “editing” of the series, which is top-heavy with his friends and students. As revealed yesterday by the brilliant Jimmy, Lehman’s wife, Stacey Harwood was included as one of the Best American poets in 2005. Funnier yet, she created an Amazon profile as “Poetry Lover” in “Madison” and reviewed this year’s edition, giving it stellar marks, natch. She berated Jimmy’s bad review and Jimmy himself. Amazon then removed Jimmy’s review, yet left hers. Meanwhile, Harwood fucked with the wrong poet; Jimmy clicked through the anonymous reviewer’s breadcrumbs and revealed her identity. How em — bear – assing!

Remember, don’t buy Foetry and don’t buy from Amazon!

While perusing the foetry tags at Flickr, I came across this shot, taken by mr38, a flickr pro user. He graciously allowed me to repost it here.

The Wave Books Poetry Bus is coming to your town. But are you welcome?   Update: a few “poetesses” (I’m using this ironically, k?) have now been added to the Portland stop. Maybe Matt Zapruder doesn’t hate women after all! (Or, more likely, he saw my complaint, and asked tokens.)

I don’t plan ahead,” he told  WW via email  this week . . . “

Perhaps he should. In an embarrassing appearance in Portland on Wednesday, Pinsky, former laureate, tried to rest on his laurels and failed miserably. Portland is notorious for being overly generous with standing ovations, but not a one person stood up for him.

I don’t feel badly about the money I paid to hear him (supposedly) talk about the links between poetry and music. After all, it was a benefit for  Poetry Northwest. But I do feel badly for Poetry Northwest, which deserved better .

Pinsky (I kid you not) read to us from that day’s local newspaper: an article about band classes in a local school. He talked about being in the dumb class in his own school. At some point, a man in the audience shouted, “We’re not the dumb class.”

His own poems used to be good. And if you’re going to talk about the music of poetry, the new poems better reflect that. They sounded like bad, musicless prose.

He made a bad joke about poets wanting to work the word “crappy” into a poem and all I could think was, “What a rebel.“

In his defense, my wife said he visited her MFA program 20 years ago and was very generous then. It’s too bad about him now.

is a poem by Christopher Woodman.

Tupelo Press sounds tempting. After collecting $35 each for 1000 manuscripts during a questionable “open reading,” the press has sent some (or maybe all) of the poets a subsequent form letter. Written by editor Jeffrey Levine, the letter is made to seem like it’s a special invitation, but the wording is identical to the letters other poets received, with the unique name of each manuscript substituted.

Levine offers a “full manuscript review” for only $295.00, with a note that he normally charges $900! The critique offer preys on hopeful poets on many levels. (And be sure to make your check payable to Levine himself, and not Tupelo Press.) He cleverly says that “It does not represent a prelude to publication by Tupelo Press, though of course . . . do not rule out the possibility in some cases.” There will be some poets desperate enough to accept his special offer, but I urge you to avoid this press. Levine had me fooled for awhile, but it seems to me that he is one of the sneakiest of the Foets.

Also troubling to me is this note: re-submit the manuscript to the Dorset Prize, where it will automatically skip over the first round of readings. To me and others who notified Foetry.com, this is a violation of Tupelo’s own guidelines. Furthermore, despite the fact that Levine claims manuscripts will be read blind, he is obviously familiar with the names of poets and their work at this point.

I’d like to thank the poets who alerted me to this problematic situation and I’d encourage poets to find a home for their work that doesn’t cost them large amounts of money. Right now I’d recommend a few presses that are editing with integrity:

  1. Steel Toe Books
  2. WordTech Communications and its imprints
  3. Pleiades Press

Others, like Carnegie Mellon University Press, have low reading fees. (Disclosure: this is my wife’s publisher). Reading fee is only $10.

If you have received a letter from Tupelo Press,please contact me.

As much as some people want Foetry.com to go away, the site keeps plugging along. Posting drops a bit in the summer, but just as an FYI to all the closet fans: we’re averaging about 250 unique visitors per day with 1,100 page loads. People are reading the truth and foetry.com’s gonna keep dishing it.

Those of you who know the truth about contests like the National Poetry Series and the Sawtooth Prize might want to consider – oh I don’t know — NOT ENTERING. Voice your dissatisfaction by withholding your MONEY. Otherwise, you’ll always be a fool.

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