The Final Straw at Tupelo Press

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, 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.

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