July 29, 2005
Foetry shocker: Georgia concedes everything, Georgia concedes nothing . . .
by Dennis Johnson
The impact of Foetry.com continues to reverberate throughout the poetry world with a shocker from the University of Georgia Press: after 25 years it has decided to end its prestigious Contemporary Poets Series prize. The undated announcement, apparently just placed on the UGP website, does not say why, but the series has been awash in scandal for months since the revelation — uncovered by Foetry — that in 2000 anonymous guest judge Jorie Graham, with the collusion of long-time series editor Bin Ramke, selected Graham’s husband, Peter Sacks, for the award. Ramke has since resigned his position of 22 years, and Graham has announced she will no longer judge poetry contests. The UGP announcement makes no recognition of the situation, nor addresses any concern for those who paid to enter the contest in 2000, nor clarifies whether there would be a subsequent investigation to see if the contest had been fixed in other years. The announcement does, however, salute Ramke and announce, “we are currently exploring an idea for a new series.”
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives