Summary: Over a quarter-century career in higher education, publishing, criminal investigation, journalism, and the law, Seth Abramson (MA, MFA, JD, Ph.D.) has worked for Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University, Wesleyan University, University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Institute of Art and Design at New England College, and the Nashua Trial Unit of the New Hampshire Public Defender. A Harvard Law School graduate and an attorney in good standing with the New Hampshire Bar Association and the Federal Bar for the District of New Hampshire, Seth is a political columnist for Newsweek, a professor teaching journalism and legal advocacy at the University of New Hampshire, and a New York Times–bestselling nonfiction author and Poetry Foundation–bestselling poet. He has authored thirteen books and edited five anthologies, receiving national honors for both his creative writing and his journalism. During the Trump era, he was a regular contributor to CNN and the BBC. In 2018, was named to the National Council for the Training of Journalists' list of the most respected journalists in the U.S. and United Kingdom—one of only nine freelancers so honored.
Full Bio: A graduate of Harvard Law School, Seth worked for nine years as a criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator and is now on the faculty of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at University of New Hampshire, the State of New Hampshire's flagship public university (R1). He has taught in the university's Professional and Technical Communications, Digital Language Arts, Literary Studies and Engineering Technology programs; his several areas of academic specialization include digital journalism, post-internet writing, cultural theory, and legal advocacy (legal writing, case method, and trial advocacy). He is an attorney in good standing with the New Hampshire Bar Association and the Federal Bar for the District of New Hampshire; a member of the American Bar Association, the New Hampshire High Tech Council and the National Council of Teachers of English; a Newsweek columnist; and a New York Times bestselling author.
Trained as a criminal investigator at Georgetown University (1996) and Harvard University (2000-2001), Seth has worked for four public defenders—three state, one federal—representing over 2,000 indigent criminal defendants during that time in cases ranging from juvenile delinquency to first-degree murder. He first testified in federal court as a federal defense investigator at the age of 19; represented his first homicide client at age 22 (as a Rule 33 attorney for the Boston Trial Unit of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, or CPCS); and had won two homicide cases, including a first-degree murder trial, by the age of 29. After working for CPCS on major felonies—termed "non-concurrent felonies" in Massachusetts—in Boston Municipal Court and Dorchester District Court in 1999 and 2000, Seth represented misdemeanor clients in Roxbury District Court through the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute from 2000 to 2001. Between 2001 and 2007, he was a staff attorney for the Nashua Trial Unit of the New Hampshire Public Defender, working felony and misdemeanor cases in seven New Hampshire district courts as well as the two Superior Courts in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire (the Southern District and the Northern District).
A 1998 graduate of Dartmouth College (A.B.), Seth returned to school after his time at the New Hampshire Public Defender and received additional terminal degrees in both Creative Writing (MFA, University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, 2009) and Literary Studies (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016). In 2015, he joined the undergraduate faculty at the urban college of University of New Hampshire, which specializes in interdisciplinary and pre-professional studies.
At University of New Hampshire, Seth aided the transition of the urban college's English program into new Digital Language Arts and Professional and Technical Communications degrees in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. The two degrees cover topics ranging from digital journalism to technical writing, legal advocacy to post-internet literary and cultural theory, graphic novels to nonfiction writing. Seth's "Digital Creative Writing" course, designed to focus on entrepreneurial white papers for high-concept digital projects rather than conventional print-published literary art, became the first workshop of its kind in the United States in 2016. Seth also co-founded, in 2016, University of New Hampshire's Legal Advocacy Program, within which he created courses in both Legal Writing and Research—a pre-law course reproducing law school study for undergraduates—and a criminal justice-oriented professional writing course whose curriculum includes, in addition to information about the policies and procedures of the U.S. criminal justice system, a panoply of legal advocacy skills, such as direct examination and cross-examination, opening statements, closing arguments, how to write client letters and legal memoranda, how to analyze written police reports, and how to structure legal research papers.
In 2018, Seth was Affiliate Faculty at the New Hampshire Institute of Art; in 2019, he was Affiliate Faculty at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Seth has been a print and radio journalist since 1994, when at 17 he became a sports reporter at The Daily Dartmouth—America's oldest college newspaper—covering Dartmouth's Division I (FCS) football team, as well as serving as a radio correspondent for Dartmouth's Division I men's college basketball team. His work in radio at Dartmouth also included weekly sports talk and pop music programs. Since then, Seth's reporting and editorials have been published in both American and British media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Kansas City Star, The Seattle Times, The Economist, The Guardian, Newsweek, Boston Review, The Philadelphia Review of Books, VRScout, and SBNation (for whom he covered Division I ["FBS"] college football). From 2004 to 2006, Seth ran a political news website, The Nashua Advocate, whose 2005 nomination for a Koufax Award led to Seth appearing regularly as a political commentator for Air America Radio. From 2008 to 2013, Seth was a reporter and data journalist for Poets & Writers, and from 2013 to 2016 he was a culture columnist and reviewer of television, film, and other multimedia at Indiewire. His film reviews were often picked up by review-aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, where he retains "legacy critic" status. From 2010 to 2017, Seth was a columnist and editorialist at The Huffington Post, where his columns on U.S. politics were shared more than two million times on social media during the 2016 presidential primaries. From March 2017 through election day in November of 2020, Seth's tweets (from @sethabramson) were retweeted over 100 million times.
After the election of Donald Trump, Seth became a regular commentator on U.S. politics on CNN and the BBC, with additional interviews by (among many others) CBS, CBS Radio, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Radio, ABC News, ABC Radio, NPR, PBS, the CBC, HBO, Bloomberg, the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia Journalism Review, The Washington Post, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Newsweek, Time, Vanity Fair, The Boston Globe, POLITICO, Congressional Quarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Der Spiegel, Playboy, The New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Sunday Times, Slate, Roll Call, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Under the Skin with Russell Brand, various political programs on SiriusXM radio, and many others. His political writing has been widely cited in TV, radio, print and online, with discussions on CBS, CBC, CNBC, PBS, FNC, BET, and NPR, as well as in POLITICO, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Time, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, The Weekly Standard, The New Yorker, Vibe, People, Vox, The Hill, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Post, The Times of Israel, The Week, and others. Ellen McCarthy of The Washington Post has said that Seth attained "prominence in the collective American consciousness" as a result of Trump's presidency.
In October 2018, the National Council for the Training of Journalists named Seth, as a freelancer, to its annual roster of the "most-respected journalists" in the United States and the United Kingdom. Voted on by working British journalists, the NCTJ list featured nine freelancers; others honored by the NCTJ in 2018 included Pulitzer Prize winners Bob Woodward and Ronan Farrow and Emmy- and Murrow Award-winning CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour.
In November 2018, Simon & Schuster published Seth's New York Times and USA Today bestselling book on Trump-Russia collusion, Proof of Collusion, which took readers through four decades of Trump's ties to Russia, with a particular emphasis on the events of the 2016 presidential election. The 450-page book contained 1,650 endnotes, and 2,000 citations. In September 2019, Macmillan published Proof of Conspiracy, Seth's New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling book on the six-nation pre-election geopolitical conspiracy—centered on the Middle East—that helped Trump win the White House. Also a bestseller at Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes (and attached to an online archive of over 3,250 endnotes and 4,330 major-media citations) the 600-page Proof of Conspiracy chronicled the so-called "Red Sea Conspiracy," as part of which plot the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Russia, Israel, the UAE, and Egypt conspired to assist Trump in becoming President of the United States. In September 2020, Macmillan published Proof of Corruption, the conclusion of the "Proof" trilogy; the book focused on Trump bribery scandals involving the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 election, Ukraine, China, Turkey, Iran, and Venezuela, along with major updates on earlier Trump scandals in Russia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Proof of Corruption was a USA Today bestseller, as well as making pre-order and post-release bestseller lists at Apple Books, Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Walmart. (Its archive of 5,000 major-media citations is located here.)
In October 2020, Seth released Proof: A Pre-election Special, a limited-series podcast co-hosted by former VICE editor Thomas Morton and Produced by Cineflix. A 10-episode explainer of key facts from the epic, 2,500-page Proof trilogy—unpacking several of its most shocking revelations across a dozen hours of audio—the Proof podcast reached Apple Podcasts' Top 10 in the "Government" category in 31 countries, including the U.S., Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and the UAE. The podcast reached the Top 5 in 24 of these countries, and the top two spots in a dozen (the U.S., Canada, Croatia, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Romania, Singapore, and South Africa). In all, episodes of the Proof podcast were viewed or downloaded nearly 100,000 times in the several weeks immediately preceding the 2020 presidential election.
In January of 2021, Seth founded the Proof substack, a ten-section media outlet that became the top-ranked Culture substack in the world within its first 120 days of operation. You can read Proof here.
In early 2023, Seth will publish Citizen Journalist, a graphic novel, with Macmillan. Citizen Journalist uses an exploration of contemporary digital journalism to better understand the role that citizen and other independent digital journalism will have in the coming decades. Seth is also working on a memoir, Thread, that focuses on his writing, research, and commentary on American politics, higher education, the law, and post-internet cultural theory throughout the 2000s and 2010s. Seth is represented by Jeff Silberman of Los Angeles-based Folio Literary Management.
Seth co-founded and is the series editor for an annual anthology of experimental writing that encompasses every genre of creative writing (as well as hybrid forms), Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University Press). From 2017 to 2019, was the editorial director of the digital city newspaper The Manchester Independent. Prior to co-founding the Best American Experimental Writing series in 2013, Seth co-founded and was poetry editor of The New Hampshire Review (2004-05). He has also served on the editorial staff at the University Press of New England (1994-98), The Iowa Review (2008-09), Crazyhorse (2009), and Devil's Lake (2009-11). The fifth edition of Best American Experimental Writing, Best American Experimental Writing 2020, will be published by Wesleyan University Press in December 2020.
Seth has authored or edited eighteen books, including An Insider's Guide to Graduate Degrees in Creative Writing (Bloomsbury UK, 2018); Golden Age (BlazeVOX, 2017); DATA (2016); Metamericana (2015); Thievery (University of Akron Press, 2013), winner of the 2012 Akron Prize; Northerners (Western Michigan University Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 Green Rose Prize and a Poetry Foundation–bestselling collection; and The Suburban Ecstasies (Ghost Road Press, 2009), which was shortlisted for the 2007 Many Mountains Moving Prize. Other awards include the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from Poetry, a Teaching-Writing Fellowship from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the August Derleth Fiction Prize and Alexander Chambers Essay Prize from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a 2008 selection by former United States Poet Laureate Mark Strand for Best New Poets (University of Virginia Press).
Seth has published his poetry and prose in hundreds of venues, including state reviews (Alaska Quarterly Review, California Quarterly, Colorado Review, Florida Review, Hawaii Review, Indiana Review, The Iowa Review, Minnesota Review, Mississippi Review, New York Quarterly, North Dakota Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Texas Review, Wisconsin Review, and others); city reviews (Boston Review, Brooklyn Review, The Cincinnati Review, Denver Quarterly, The Louisville Review, Madison Review, The Manhattan Review, New Orleans Review, Portland Review, Seattle Review, and others); reviews housed at universities (AGNI, Bat City, Columbia Poetry Review, Conjunctions, Georgetown Review, Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, Jubilat, LIT, Meridian, Notre Dame Review, The Southern Review, Western Humanities Review, William & Mary Review, and others); and independent reviews (Poetry, Fence, American Poetry Review, New American Writing, Crazyhorse, The Academy of American Poets, Salmagundi, Verse, and others).
Seth's essays on a burgeoning post-postmodern cultural philosophy known as metamodernism—the subject of his Indiewire column, his early essays at The Huffington Post, and his cultural studies research at University of New Hampshire—were credited by Sturgill Simpson as being part of the inspiration for his Grammy-nominated alt-country album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.
Seth has guest-lectured on metamodernism and other topics (including experimental poetics, higher education, the disciplinary history of English, criminal investigations, and contemporary American politics) at many colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Northwestern University, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin at Madison, University of Amsterdam, University of Iowa, University of Maine at Farmington, University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, The Pratt Institute, Drake University, Bard College, Illinois Wesleyan University, Manhattanville College, Madison College (WI), St. Edward's University (TX), Southeastern Community College (IA) and New England College.
At various points, Seth has lived and worked in Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. He was born on October 31, 1976 in Concord, Massachusetts.