Seth Abramson

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Seth Abramson
Born October 31, 1976
Concord, Massachusetts
Occupation Poet
Nationality American
Education Master of Fine Arts, Juris Doctor

Seth Abramson (born October 31, 1976) is an American poet, editor, attorney, freelance journalist, and professor.[1][2][3]


Currently an Assistant Professor of English at University of New Hampshire, Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.[4] He writes a blog on contemporary poetry for The Huffington Post and is a regular columnist for Indiewire.[5][6][7] Abramson's Indiewire column focuses on films, television programs, and video games informed by metamodernism.[8][9] Publishers Weekly notes that Abramson has "picked up a very large following as a blogger and commentator, covering poetry, politics, and higher education, and generating a controversial, U.S. News-style ranking of graduate programs in writing."[10] Before joining the faculty of University of New Hampshire, Abramson was an attorney for the New Hampshire Public Defender and a commentator for Air America Radio.

Creative writing[edit]

Abramson has published a number of books and anthologies. The magazine Publishers Weekly describes Abramson as "serious and ambitious...uncommonly interested in general statements, in hard questions, and harder answers, about how to live."[11]

Colorado Review called Northerners, Abramson's second collection of poetry, "alternately expansive and deeply personal...of crystalline beauty and complexity," terming Abramson "a major American voice."[12] Notre Dame Review echoed the sentiment, calling Abramson "a powerful voice."[13]

Abramson won the 2008 J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize. Poetry editor Don Share said of Abramson's "What I Have" that "the poem absorbs certain details but doesn't fasten upon them the way poets are tempted to do; it's not adjectival, it's not descriptive, it's not painting a kind of canvas with scenery on it, and yet those details are really fascinating."[14]

Best American Experimental Writing[edit]

Abramson, with the poet Jesse Damiani, has been Series Co-Editor of the annual anthology of innovative verse, Best American Experimental Writing, since its inception with Omnidawn in 2012.[15][16] The series was picked up by Wesleyan University Press in 2014.[17]

The MFA Research Project[edit]

Abramson authors The MFA Research Project (MRP), a website that publishes indexes of creative writing Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs based on surveys and hard-data research.[18] Indexes appearing on the MRP include ordered listings of program popularity, funding, selectivity, fellowship placement, job placement, student-faculty ratio, application cost, application response times, application and curriculum requirements, and foundation dates. The MRP also publishes surveys of current MFA applicants, and of various creative writing programs. Writing for The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Since 1945, Hank Lazer described Abramson's project as "a daring and data-rich endeavor."[19] The Missouri Review observed that Abramson, along with novelist Tom Kealey, "had done a tremendous amount of work to peel back the layers of MFA programs and get applicants to make informed decisions."[20]

Data from the MRP has been regularly published by Poets & Writers since 2009. The Chronicle of Higher Education has termed the Poets & Writers national assessment methodology "comprehensive" and "the only MFA ranking regime." [21][22] The data is not without its critics. In September 2011, a critical open letter signed by professors from undergraduate and graduate creative writing programs was published.[23] In their response, Poets & Writers asserted that it adhered to the highest journalistic standards.[24] The rankings' primary researcher, the magazine's Editorial Director Mary Gannon said of Abramson that he "has been collecting data about applicants' preferences and about MFA programs for five years, and we stand behind his integrity."[24]


In May 2014, Abramson was criticised for his Huffington Post piece "Last Words for Elliot Rodger", a "remix" of words taken from the final YouTube video of the perpetrator of the Isla Vista killings, which Abramson published less than two days after they took place.[25] Both the reuse of Rodger's words and the timing of the poem caused offence.[26] Although Abramson called the work "a vehicle for amity and compassion", Omnidawn, Abramson's publisher at the time, issued a statement saying that it was "dismayed, disheartened, distressed", adding that "his actions in this matter are not in alignment with our principles."[27][28]

In December 2015, an article written by Abramson for The Huffington Post went viral, receiving more than 120,000 "likes" on Facebook and more than 17,000 shares via the social media website.[29][30] The article, which criticized the J.J. Abrams film Star Wars: The Force Awakens for its alleged plot holes, was quickly followed by two additional articles on the film, the second of which, "10 Reasons Star Wars: The Force Awakens Is the Best Star Wars Film Ever Made," argued that the film in fact had no plot holes.[31][32] The first two of these articles were widely criticised by fans of The Force Awakens, with Indiewire noting that, while there were some "lazy shortcuts" in the film, "most of the things Abramson cites as plot holes are just things he finds implausible or simply doesn't like."[33] After an assertion by Abramson that his two contradictory articles about the film were intended as experimental literature, Film School Rejects wrote that "whether or not Abramson intended for this to be a grand social experiment, the controversy surrounding his Star Wars articles has created an interesting litmus test of how we categorize and respond to various types of film criticism."[34]


Selected Works[edit]





  1. ^ Author website,
  2. ^ Author biography, The Huffington Post.
  3. ^ "Acclaimed Author and Poet Seth Abramson Joins UNH Manchester English Program", University of New Hampshire (April 16, 2015).
  4. ^ "Acclaimed Author and Poet Seth Abramson Joins UNH Manchester English Program", University of New Hampshire (April 16, 2015).
  5. ^ "Living on LIPP," The Harvard Law Record (September 22, 2005).
  6. ^ "On American Metamodernism," The Huffington Post (February 7, 2014)
  7. ^ "A New Press Play Column: Seth Abramson's 'Metamericana'", Indiewire (January 31, 2014)
  8. ^ "Metamericana: Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty Is Exactly That," Indiewire (February 28, 2014)
  9. ^ "Talks on Metamodernism with Seth Abramson," As It Ought to Be (March 12, 2014)
  10. ^ Review of Northerners, Publishers Weekly (May 2011).
  11. ^ Northerners, Publishers Weekly (Review).
  12. ^ Northerners] (review), Colorado Review
  13. ^ "From Ruin to Rebirth," Notre Dame Review
  14. ^ "You're Always Moving Toward Silence," Poetry (March 2009 Poetry Foundation Podcast).
  15. ^ "Best American Experimental Writing Anthology Announced," The Poetry Foundation (November 12, 2012).
  16. ^ "Announcing Omnidawn's New Annual Anthology, Best American Experimental Writing," Omnidawn (November 7, 2012).
  17. ^ "Best American Experimental Writing: Guidelines for Submitting," Wesleyan University Press (April 17, 2014).
  18. ^ The MFA Research Project
  19. ^ "American Poetry and Its Institutions," The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Since 1945 (February 8, 2013)
  20. ^ "The MFA Degree: A Bad Decision?", The Missouri Review (August 29, 2011)
  21. ^ "What Defines a Successful Post-M.F.A. Career?", The Chronicle of Higher Education (November 3, 2011)
  22. ^ "M.F.A. Application-Season Etiquette," The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  23. ^ Stoeffel, Kat (8 September 2011). "Creative Writing Profs Dispute Their Ranking–No, the Entire Notion of Ranking!". The New York Observer. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "Poets & Writers Responds to Open Letter". Poets & Writers. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  25. ^ "Abramson Publisher "Distressed" by His Elliot Rodger "Remix"". Coldfront. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  26. ^ Kempf, Christopher (10 June 2014). "The Poetics of Tragedy". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  27. ^ "Rap Genius and Bad Poetry: It’s Always Too Soon to Grab Personal Attention After a Tragedy". Flavorwire. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  28. ^ "Omnidawn Breaks the Sound Barrier for BAX". Poetry Foundation. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  29. ^ "40 Unforgivable Plot Holes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.". The Huffington Post. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  30. ^ "Prepare Yourself: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Backlash Has Begun". Mashable. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  31. ^ "20 More Plot Holes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.". The Huffington Post. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  32. ^ "10 Reasons Star Wars: The Force Awakens Is the Best Star Wars Film Ever Made.". The Huffington Post. 31 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  33. ^ "Tired of Complaints About Star Wars: The Force Awakens Plot Holes? Read This," Indiewire, 7 January 2016 [1]
  34. ^ "Better Living Through Star Wars Plot Holes," Film School Rejects, 8 January 2016 [2]