I'd love to go from Hunger Mountain right into a piece on Colrain--which is the same deal, really, except people spend much more money, and Joan Houlihan and Jeffrey Levine are editors who can publish their "students" and perhaps eventually judge them in a "contest," thus providing incentive for the aspiring writer to pay the "manuscript doctor" fees.
Most of these poets would never pay a thousand dollars, or whatever it is they have to pay, for a vanity publication, and Levine and Houlihan would vociferously deny they are in the "vanity publication" business, but if they collect money to edit a person's manuscript, become acquainted with that person and their work in the process of taking their money, and then subsequently publish them in a magazine or a book--how can any objective viewer not reach the conclusion that this is, in fact, vanity publishing?
If an editor receives an manuscript out of the blue and says, "Wow, I must publish this," fine, wonderful.
But if an editor takes hefty fees from a poet for "manuscript doctoring" services and then subsequently publishes that poet, one has to be rather naive not to know what's going on.
And then, of course, the "students" and the Colrain manuscript "doctors" trumpet the "success" of the "manuscript doctor" retreats.
Okay, now we just put a headline on it:
HOW MUCH "LEGITIMATE" ACADEMIC PUBLISHING IS ACTUALLY VANITY PUBLISHING?
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