April 26, 2005

The rhetoric prof probably isn't very happy about that split infinitive, either . . .


Almost a month ago, Alex Beam wrote about Foetry.com in his Boston Globe column (see the MobyLives news digest for 31 March). Beam noted that the website had “chided” local Harvard poet and professor of rhetoric Jorie Graham for having awarded the 2000 Contemporary Poetry Series award “to her then-partner, now husband, Peter Sacks,” when she judged the contest for The University of Georgia Press. Graham shot back a letter-to-the-editor a week later, writing, “I did not select Peter Sacks’s manuscript; . . . I recused myself from considering it. The series editor, Bin Ramke, wished very much to publish it and exercised his option to do so.” Graham went on to say, “in a climate which permits technology to slander people, the Globe should check such claims before accepting them as fact.” But apparently someone still wasn’t satisfied. Saturday, a “clarification” of the story appeared . . . with a concluding sentence indicating Beam had been right in the first place. It reports that “Ramke asked Graham to officially concur in his decision, and she did.” Graham, it seems, as the official judge of the award, had indeed agreed to choose her “then-partner, now husband.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives