Department of WTF


so i’ll keep the voting open for the Battle below. and will draw up the discussion from 2 posts down in a bit. for now, wanted to throw a few WTFs around.

the first comes from the wonderful poet John Yau’s review of Michael Gizzi’s new book from Burning Deck (i’m also currently reviewing this book). now i love yau’s work, but this review deserves a big fat WTF, especially this most unfortunate passage:

“(Here I would like to make a small aside. Recently, I was in Berlin for a poetry festival. After all the readings were done, we were invited to have dinner in the cafeteria of the Akademie der Künste, where the readings took place. Rita Dove, the former poet laureate, sat at a small table with her husband and two friends, and didn’t talk to anyone else, while Rosmarie sat at a large table surrounded by people, many of whom were meeting her for the first time. She was cheerful, friendly, and open.)


so apparently northeastern university has canceled their contest ! WTF! usually if a press is in trouble they start a contest! here’s the thing: with the proliferation of contests and the economic difficulties of submitting to 20 contests a years, contests have to contest with other contests–especially hurt are the small contests from whos-heard-of university presses (i’m sure univ cuts are in play here as well).


speaking of contests, WTF is up with Tupelo downsizing their 10,000 Dorset prize to a mere $3000 dollars! i was planning to win this prize next year but now forget it! those fancy pants french flaps dont make up for it! here’s what they say:

“A note from the publisher about our Dorset Prize cash award:

As the economic upheaval continues to take an enormous toll on all publishers, particularly nonprofit literary presses, we have decided that, for the time being, it does not make good sense to offer a $10,000 award for the Dorset Prize as in recent years. We must husband all of our resources in order to honor commitments already made, and to enable us to make further commitments to superb manuscripts. When the economic climate shows a marked improvement — when we begin to see significant increases in book sales and nonprofit giving — we will, of course, consider restoring the Dorset Prize to $10,000. Meanwhile, we believe that $3,000 represents a substantial honorarium for a writer, especially combined with the editing, design, printing, and distribution of one of our extraordinary volumes of poetry. The Dorset Prize continues to offer a fitting and substantial award to a deserving poet. This continues to be the preeminent open poetry award.”

Besides the Dorset Prize, Tupelo has three other prizes: chapbook, First Book, and July Open Submissions ($25). four contests in all!

(don’t be fooled: the july open submissions is simply a contest (by any other name) without the $10,000, i mean $3,000 award)


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