I received an apology from Gabriel Fried at Persea Books. I did accept but I have some reservations. I wrote the email below to Karen Brazillier at Persea in response to her email to me, saying that she felt “chastened” that they didn’t know.
Yesterday, I felt enormous guilt, as victims do. I also felt deeply hurt by the silence of my pressmates. I thought about walking away from poetry and not writing again. But this morning I woke up feeling more balanced. Here is the letter I wrote to Karen Braziller:
Thank you, Karen. There is one thing I want to say about the apology. It starts out with “it seems I have inadvertently hurt you” and then it talks about how he was not equipped or didn’t understand enough about trauma survivors. I feel like this is distancing or evasive language, and while I accept it, I also take note of that.
I framed the problem of our relationship in that light too. That because I am a survivor of sexual violence I need a sort of particular sensitivity.
I would like to say though that in my responses and feedback and support from women, they are taking issue with me (gently) on that framework. Because they say it’s the lack of professionalism Gabe displayed. That even non-survivors would have a problem with the lack of professionalism and lack of boundaries.
I do accept his apology, but I am also suspicious of it, because of the distancing language he used at the beginning and then the framework of the apology being about me being a special case.
My pressmates seem to be very supportive of him. I’m glad they’ve had a good experience. I hope this was a one time aberration for Gabe. But there may be women out there who are afraid to speak out. I have heard from some women, one who dated him as a student and said it was consensual but the entire climate at MU English department was one of sexual manipulation, favoritism, and exclusion.i heard from other students the same. Others said they felt very hurt at Persea by the favoritism and exclusion of some writers and interns.
These are just things to keep in mind for the good of the press. How to care for Gabe, but also be mindful that the problem may be deeper than just me alone.
Thank you for publishing Thrust. And for the work you do. I’m sorry for the pain. I couldn’t reach out to you because I didn’t know if it would make it worse for me. I’m sure you care about Gabe very much, as all his friends do.