Monday, November 27, 2006

Disturbing News -

After investing $40 and hopes and dreams in the Tupelo Press book award, I've read some distressing items on Foetry regarding J. Levine, editor in chief:

"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." posted by Alan Cordle

On the Tupelo prize page they state:

" the winner of the Dorset Prize will be selected by a panel consisting of the senior poetry editors of Tupelo Press"

J. Levine is listed as Editor In Chief. Let's hope he's not on this 'panel' as he clearly already knows the names connected with the manuscripts. I have nothing against someone trying to drump up business and can certainly see Mr.Levine sending out letters like this to poets who have submitted books for publication outside of this contest. But this is a contest with a pretty hefty prize - ethically this whole thing stinks.



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