Essay

Word Theft

Why did 2013 become the year of the plagiarists?

Paisley Rekdal got two Facebook messages last January from fellow poets who had some disturbing news: a poet in England by the name of Christian Ward had taken an old poem of hers and published it, barely altered, as his own. Her first reaction was to wonder if it was some kind of experiment. Perhaps by changing the gender of the author of a poem about infidelity and infertility, he was teasing out new meanings?

Then she saw the “new” poem, with its new line breaks and minor but grating word changes. It was obviously a work of deception, not conceptual play. “That’s the thing that enraged me,” she said recently. “If he had just plagiarized the poem and published under his name, I would have been less annoyed. When I saw he wanted to take part in something I had done myself and claim it as his own, I felt kind of violated.”

Rekdal, who responded to Ward with a righteously angry blog post (and later a more melancholy one), is not the only one feeling violated these days. The poetry world experienced something of a plagiarism epidemic last year. CJ Allen withdrew from the shortlist of England’s Forward Prize in September when it was revealed that he had plagiarized some of his past work. Australian poet Andrew Slattery was stripped of three prizes when it turned out he had cribbed from Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, among others. When caught, he claimed the poems were written in the cento form, in which each line is pulled from another source; he also called his work “a cynical experiment.”

The list goes on: British poet David R. Morgan admitted last spring that many of his poems, stretching back to at least the 1980s, had been plagiarized. Rekdal’s perpetrator turned out to have stolen from several other poets, including Helen Mort and Sandra Beasley. Graham Nunn, longtime organizer of a major Australian poetry festival, was accused last September of at least eight instances of plagiarism, which he defended in part as “sampling”; on his blog, he wrote that “[r]eading and listening to music are a vital part of my process” and that “parts of the original text are creatively appropriated in the formation of a new work.” These are all published, and often prize-winning, poets—they are not students or amateurs. Why did 2013 become the year of the plagiarists?

Writing is a dance that involves imitation, inspiration, and originality. But all things considered, writerly disapproval of plagiarism has remained remarkably consistent over the centuries—really, even over millennia. The Roman poet Martial accused his rival Fidentinus, whom he called a “miscreant magpie”: “My books need no one to accuse or judge you: the page which is yours stands up against you and says, ‘You are a thief.’” Martial was particularly galled that Fidentinus had mixed in his own inferior work with Martial’s original material. Yes, approaches to borrowing and attribution have shifted over time, but wholesale copying has never been kosher.

T.S. Eliot, who relied on other sources for much of “The Waste Land” (plagiarism or allusion?), famously wrote, “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” Less often quoted is the next line, “Bad poets deface what they take.” This is what seems to gall many victims of plagiarists: to see their poems reprinted in weaker versions than the original.

Ruth Ellen Kocher, a Colorado-based poet and professor, recently learned that her 2004 poem “Issues Involving Interpretation” had been plagiarized online by an Australian named Vuong Pham. Pham kept her line breaks intact but changed a few words and added some new lines. “When he stole my work, he didn’t make it better,” Kocher said. “If my work was going to be taken and pilfered in that way, I would have loved to see it undergo a transformation and evolution.” Instead, she said, it reminded her of a “reverse revision”: his small changes actually made the poem worse.

Since the 19th century, when the Romantics embraced what Marilyn Randall, a professor of French studies at the University of Western Ontario and the author of a 2001 book on literary plagiarism, calls the “authentic poetic soul,” borrowing has become even more cemented as a literary crime. (Rekdal refers to her plagiarist as a Romantic, because “he was trying to tie his own imagination to the poem and claim it.”) Even in our age of collage and appropriation and “intertextuality,” it’s only at the extreme edges of such experimentation that you’ll find even mild defenses of outright plagiarism.

Despite the fact that plagiarism has always been taboo, readers are often more forgiving of historical offenses. As Thomas Mallon puts it in his insightful 1989 book on plagiarism, “Stolen Words,” “Everyone enjoys a good scandal in the present…. What we seem far less able to endure is that plaster cast falling from the library shelf: Its shattering somehow bothers us more than the live body going off the cliff.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge, for example, was an inveterate thief, but he remains firmly in the canon. Hart Crane borrowed heavily from a lesser-known poet named Samuel Greenberg, most notably in his early poem “Emblems of Conduct.” (“No doubt he meant to acknowledge his debt,” James Laughlin wrote in 1939. “It simply slipped his mind.”)

More recently, the British conceptual poet Ira Lightman, who was behind many of last year’s revelations, got involved simply because he didn’t see anyone else doing it. “The poetry world is genteel,” he said. “People don’t like to make any kind of stir.” Lightman has taken it upon himself to comb through suspect work, alert the victims, and publicize his findings.

But even Lightman, who spent untold hours last year ferreting out violators, doesn’t want to banish them indefinitely. “I don’t see them all as these sinister, plotting, Machiavellian characters,” he said. “I see it as a corruption. And we’re all vulnerable to corruption.” He suggests that transgressors retreat to self-publishing for a few years, prove themselves honest, and then return to the fold.

If plagiarists are not sinister and Machiavellian, then why do they do it? This question gets asked every time there’s a fresh revelation of plagiarism, whether it’s in the literary world, journalism, or academia. There’s never a satisfying answer, but there are at least lots of guesses, often somewhat at odds with each other: laziness or panic, narcissism or low self-esteem, ambition or deliberate self-sabotage.

In poetry, at least, everyone agrees it’s not about the money. “One of the hardest things is that the stakes in poetry are not very high,” Kocher said. “I’m not a rocket scientist. I’m not going to cure cancer with one of my poems. I don’t get paid an extraordinary amount of money, and I don’t have any great notoriety outside of the writing community. So to take something that most people engage in as an act of joy and sully it this way—it just seems one of the most egregious offenses.”

But does anyone write just for the money? Laurence Sterne, the plagiarist author of Tristram Shandy, said he wrote “not to be fed but to be famous.” Now, of course, he is. It worked.

The Internet has made both plagiarism itself and its detection much easier for everyone. But the major cases that came up in 2013 have all concerned British and Australian poets, often, but not always, cribbing from American ones. Despite some speculation that our national character makes us less likely to plagiarize—Americans are obsessively respectful of private property! American egos are too big to rely on other people’s work!—there’s also the possibility that Americans have simply been lucky enough to not be caught in the current dragnet.

For one, the primary detective is British, more familiar with the Commonwealth scene than the American one. And it’s not as if Americans haven’t been caught in the past. An Iowa poet named Neal Bowers, a former editor of Poet and Critic magazine, wrote a 1997 book about tracking down the Illinois elementary school teacher who published work copied from Bowers in 13 journals over the course of a few years. “It’s a very uneasy feeling,” Bowers told the New York Times at the time, “a bit like having a stalker.”

The gut reactions of the plagiarized are hard to predict. The poet and essayist H.L. Hix, for example, found out in October that his work had been lifted by Graham Nunn in an Australian anthology of love poems. He said his first reaction to getting the news from Lightman was sheer surprise: “As a poet one gets used to being completely ignored.”

Some victims feel moved to reach out the perpetrators. Kocher sent a note to Pham through Facebook after he posted a brief apology, which has since been removed, on his blog. She hasn’t heard back. (Pham has defended himself by saying he was simply naive and not taught about proper attribution; he also recently wrote that he has become a victim of cyberbullying.)

After Paisley Rekdal posted her open letter to Christian Ward on her blog, she also asked online for an apology from him. She got one: a one-sentence email that she recalls as something to the effect of “I’m sorry, I’m not this kind of person.” It’s the kind of open, vacuous statement that could make you hate someone, or feel sorry for them, or both at once. “He gave me what I asked for,” she said, “but he gave me no more than what I asked for.”

Is there such a thing as a resolution to a plagiarism story? Plagiarism isn’t a crime, there’s no universally accepted punishment for it, and the perfect expression of contrition may never come. Hix, for his part, says he has no plans to get in touch with Graham Nunn. “These were love poems that are being stolen,” he said. “I don’t have any more interest in speaking with Mr. Nunn than I would with the person who had broken into my house and stolen my property.”

Originally Published: January 7th, 2014

Ruth Graham is a journalist in New Hampshire.

  1. January 11, 2014
     larry

    Talent borrows, genius steals.

    -Oscar Wilde

    Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion.

    In T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism’. 1922.

    (T.S. Eliot ‘welds’ his theft of Oscar Wilde's words of ~ 20 years earlier..)

  2. January 12, 2014
     Tiffany

    Ruth, I found this to be a good article. I consider myself a novice poet
    of 30 years but I would never plagerize. Oh my heart sinks at the
    thought of it. I have practiced in my journals, mimicking styles of
    poetry (with encouragement from other writers), but it is entirely
    different than posting, publishing or even being awarded for someone
    else's work. Yikes. Thanks.

  3. January 13, 2014
     James13

    Fascinating piece, Ms. Graham, I've shared it with several
    friends. Nobody likes to be scammed, and yet, I can't see
    how it ends.

  4. January 13, 2014
     Mel

    I find it very interesting that the majority of the examples you use
    concern a male taking from female writers without attribution.
    Wondering if that's a bias in your writing, or an overall trend in the
    discovered plagiarised poetry.

  5. January 13, 2014
     Jim

    The unfortunate conclusion I have come to after reading this article is that not even people who give out poetry awards are reading poetry.

  6. January 14, 2014
     David Pittelli

    Another reason one might plagiarize: the thrill of doing
    wrong or being naughty. Who hasn't done something
    precisely because it is immoral, taboo or illegal?

    It may also help that plagiarism's victim isn't really
    victimized in the way other victims of theft are (the
    poem doesn't disappear from his collection). This lets
    the thief continue to think of himself as a basically
    good person despite his transgression.

    I have known Jews who delighted in eating bacon, not
    just because it is delicious, but also because for them
    it is a transgression. I envy them, as I would have to
    break the law, smoke unhealthy cigarettes, or cheat on
    my wife to experience the same thrill.

  7. January 14, 2014
     Antonia Thomas

    Today, students sign Academic Integrity Statements; then, when they're
    caught plagiarizing, tell faculty, "Nobody reads those things." It is
    increasingly apparent that plagiarism is becoming a meaningless, old
    fashioned ideal. Nonetheless, I continue to tell my students that trying to
    pass off someone else's work or ideas as their own is intellectual theft, no
    different than if I put my watch on my desk and one of them walks off with
    it while my back is turned.

  8. January 14, 2014
     Lady Andess

    Tiffany,
    You might want to "plagiarize" some basic spelling and grammar.

  9. January 14, 2014
     Another Poet

    This article itself has been plagiarized, published under Janey Smith's name at HTMLGiant.

  10. January 15, 2014
     David Pierce

    The quotation of T. S. Eliot, given by Ms Graham and expanded by larry in the first comment above, would seem to respect the recommendation of his contemporary and admirer R. G. Collingwood: "Let all such artists as understand one another, therefore, plagiarize each other’s work like men. Let each borrow his friends’ best ideas, and try to improve on them." This is from Collingwood's 1938 book _The Principles of Art,_ which is still in print; a fuller quotation is on my blog: http://polytropy.wordpress.com...
    I wonder if Ms Graham is quite right to say, "wholesale copying has never been kosher." If it hasn't been, it should be, argues Collingwood (and his own books have no copyright notices); and I see no reason to disagree, except that sources ought to be acknowledged. I am not a poet, but I did discover once that some photographs from my own website had been published without attribution on a newspaper's website: some "journalist" had been too lazy to go out and take his/her own photos of the sites in question.

  11. January 16, 2014
     Garry Speake

    How could it be that this is not a crime
    with punishments metered out by a legal
    system ?

    Is it true that its not on the books as a
    crime ?

    Can't you get a lawyer to send a stop,
    cease & desist letter threatening to sue
    if they don't remove it from book stores
    or internet or whatever ?

    Doesn't infringement of copyright apply to
    poetry like it does to songs &
    songwrighting ?

    Anybody...?....?....

  12. January 16, 2014
     Marton Radkai

    "The Internet has made both plagiarism itself and its detection much easier for everyone."

    Not the Internet alone. In May 2011, the last tyewriter factory closed, it was in Bangladesh. That instrument, loud, unwieldy, requiring physical labour manipulate, was one of the barriers to plagiarism. I would say that copy/paste or Apple/x/c/v/ is what truly boosted plagiarism.

    Other points (and then I do have to get to work trying to write original material)....

    1. If you don't see the crime, you may not know it. How much untracked plagiarism is there in foreign languages. Do you track the material written in English in Chinese, Kazalh, Bulgarian, Estonian, French? And vice-versa.

    2. Writing is no longer considered something worth paying for. See Elance and other organizations that foster dumping prices onto writers and attract the ragged-penned philanthropists by the droves. Apparently paying for content to fill up the pages is no longer an issue. So, people steal the stuff. It's easier. There are entire blogs fed daily with the material written by others.

    A leap of thought.... plagiarism is the logical outcome of our obsession with technology combined with the Religion of Efficiency (which by its very nature is an enemy of poetry) and the assasination of leisure to make way for permanent labour.

  13. January 17, 2014
     Chase Fraley

    "For we want to make off / with things that are not / our own. There is a
    pleasure / theft brings, a vitality / to the home. / Cribbed objects or
    answers / keep their guilty shimmer / forever, have you noticed?"

    from Kay Ryan's poem "Crib"

  14. January 17, 2014
     Ed Granger

    This is why I am extremely uneasy about participating in online
    workshops and forums and sharing work. Since these pieces would not
    have been previously published, it would be very difficult to detect this
    kind of theft. Obviously, a poet whose excellence is widely
    acknowledged would at first glance be a much more likely target. But I
    think someone who is very desirous of being published might easily
    steal lines or whole poems from someone else's work that they
    considered merely better than their own.

  15. January 17, 2014
     Maryhelen

    David-- if sources are acknowledged, then it is not plagiarism. Is that not the point of the article?

    No wonder it goes on, when so many, not only think it's o.k to do it, but encourage, recommend, and consider it an art in and f itself. Their point is to be good at it-- the writing/stealing and if you get caught, so what?

    It also goes on and has gone on in the past, in the world of music. Quite a bit, often unnoticed, until the internet. The difference, (it's a big $$$ one) royalties are often hefty. and litigation does go on.

  16. January 18, 2014
     Cece Fran

    While teaching high school and college courses,
    professors encourage students to write in the style of
    poet, author, thinker.Its a healthy exercise, but
    sophomoric as a flag to wave. My biggest disappointment
    with Allen Ginsberg was the time I read Kenneth
    Patchen's book- Journal of Albion Moonlight, and
    exclaimed after a close reading of "Howl",immediately
    after, that Ginberg had very deftly changed the words
    but not the cadence or intent. I would suggest that he
    did the same with poems of Delmore Schwarz among
    others- I had the opportunity to compliment Ginsberg on
    his technique but I am sure his ardent fans erased any
    discomfort I caused.

  17. January 18, 2014
     Eva Bednar

    The Atlantic has a good overview on the thrill of the
    cheat: http://www.theatlantic.com/mag... and the "cheater's high." What a thrill to shoplift and maybe even get caught? :)

  18. January 19, 2014
     Steve Boyce

    As was said, we don't do this for the money (and I've never heard of poets having groupies). We start off putting our heart and soul to paper as therapy in many cases, before moving onto the 'Ah ha!' moment of creative writing.

    Writing as a novice poet, it would be heartbreaking for many to see their work lifted and published under someone else's name and lauded. I'm lucky that no-one has bothered with my scratching's to my knowledge, but what can novice's do, especially if the word thief is a star of the genre?

  19. January 19, 2014
     zoe

    At university I was doing a short course on how to properly use the library which involved answering a set of questions that were designed to show one the different ways information could be found. I gave a copy of my answers to a girl who was having difficulty so she could check her answers. She didn't just copy them word for word, she handed in my answers with my name still attached!

  20. January 20, 2014
     JD

    Like Mel, I too noted the gendered politics of plagiarism in your
    examples. Do men steal more? Are female writers easier to steal from?
    It's probably not as black and white.
    Is plagiarism about lazy or unintentional transgression, or is this also
    about politics of publishing and access to public voice? I wonder how
    this gets complicated across race. So many slave voices were
    ventriloquized through their white transcribers.

  21. January 21, 2014
     Bruno Ministro

    Ruth, I disagree. Here you have my point of view:

    Paisley Rekdal got two Facebook messages last January from
    fellow poets who had some disturbing news: a poet in
    England by the name of Christian Ward had taken an old
    poem of hers and published it, barely altered, as his own.
    Her first reaction was to wonder if it was some kind of
    experiment. Perhaps by changing the gender of the author
    of a poem about infidelity and infertility, he was teasing
    out new meanings?

    Then she saw the “new” poem, with its new line breaks and
    minor but grating word changes. It was obviously a work of
    deception, not conceptual play. “That’s the thing that
    enraged me,” she said recently. “If he had just
    plagiarized the poem and published under his name, I would
    have been less annoyed. When I saw he wanted to take part
    in something I had done myself and claim it as his own, I
    felt kind of violated.”

    Rekdal, who responded to Ward with a righteously angry
    blog post (and later a more melancholy one), is not the
    only one feeling violated these days. The poetry world
    experienced something of a plagiarism epidemic last year.
    CJ Allen withdrew from the shortlist of England’s Forward
    Prize in September when it was revealed that he had
    plagiarized some of his past work. Australian poet Andrew
    Slattery was stripped of three prizes when it turned out
    he had cribbed from Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath,
    among others. When caught, he claimed the poems were
    written in the cento form, in which each line is pulled
    from another source; he also called his work “a cynical
    experiment.”

    The list goes on: British poet David R. Morgan admitted
    last spring that many of his poems, stretching back to at
    least the 1980s, had been plagiarized. Rekdal’s
    perpetrator turned out to have stolen from several other
    poets, including Helen Mort and Sandra Beasley. Graham
    Nunn, longtime organizer of a major Australian poetry
    festival, was accused last September of at least eight
    instances of plagiarism, which he defended in part as
    “sampling”; on his blog, he wrote that “[r]eading and
    listening to music are a vital part of my process” and
    that “parts of the original text are creatively
    appropriated in the formation of a new work.” These are
    all published, and often prize-winning, poets—they are not
    students or amateurs. Why did 2013 become the year of the
    plagiarists?

    Writing is a dance that involves imitation, inspiration,
    and originality. But all things considered, writerly
    disapproval of plagiarism has remained remarkably
    consistent over the centuries—really, even over millennia.
    The Roman poet Martial accused his rival Fidentinus, whom
    he called a “miscreant magpie”: “My books need no one to
    accuse or judge you: the page which is yours stands up
    against you and says, ‘You are a thief.’” Martial was
    particularly galled that Fidentinus had mixed in his own
    inferior work with Martial’s original material. Yes,
    approaches to borrowing and attribution have shifted over
    time, but wholesale copying has never been kosher.

    T.S. Eliot, who relied on other sources for much of “The
    Waste Land” (plagiarism or allusion?), famously wrote,
    “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” Less often
    quoted is the next line, “Bad poets deface what they
    take.” This is what seems to gall many victims of
    plagiarists: to see their poems reprinted in weaker
    versions than the original.

    Ruth Ellen Kocher, a Colorado-based poet and professor,
    recently learned that her 2004 poem “Issues Involving
    Interpretation” had been plagiarized online by an
    Australian named Vuong Pham. Pham kept her line breaks
    intact but changed a few words and added some new lines.
    “When he stole my work, he didn’t make it better,” Kocher
    said. “If my work was going to be taken and pilfered in
    that way, I would have loved to see it undergo a
    transformation and evolution.” Instead, she said, it
    reminded her of a “reverse revision”: his small changes
    actually made the poem worse.

    Since the 19th century, when the Romantics embraced what
    Marilyn Randall, a professor of French studies at the
    University of Western Ontario and the author of a 2001
    book on literary plagiarism, calls the “authentic poetic
    soul,” borrowing has become even more cemented as a
    literary crime. (Rekdal refers to her plagiarist as a
    Romantic, because “he was trying to tie his own
    imagination to the poem and claim it.”) Even in our age of
    collage and appropriation and “intertextuality,” it’s only
    at the extreme edges of such experimentation that you’ll
    find even mild defenses of outright plagiarism.

    Despite the fact that plagiarism has always been taboo,
    readers are often more forgiving of historical offenses.
    As Thomas Mallon puts it in his insightful 1989 book on
    plagiarism, “Stolen Words,” “Everyone enjoys a good
    scandal in the present…. What we seem far less able to
    endure is that plaster cast falling from the library
    shelf: Its shattering somehow bothers us more than the
    live body going off the cliff.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
    for example, was an inveterate thief, but he remains
    firmly in the canon. Hart Crane borrowed heavily from a
    lesser-known poet named Samuel Greenberg, most notably in
    his early poem “Emblems of Conduct.” (“No doubt he meant
    to acknowledge his debt,” James Laughlin wrote in 1939.
    “It simply slipped his mind.”)

    More recently, the British conceptual poet Ira Lightman,
    who was behind many of last year’s revelations, got
    involved simply because he didn’t see anyone else doing
    it. “The poetry world is genteel,” he said. “People don’t
    like to make any kind of stir.” Lightman has taken it upon
    himself to comb through suspect work, alert the victims,
    and publicize his findings.

    But even Lightman, who spent untold hours last year
    ferreting out violators, doesn’t want to banish them
    indefinitely. “I don’t see them all as these sinister,
    plotting, Machiavellian characters,” he said. “I see it as
    a corruption. And we’re all vulnerable to corruption.” He
    suggests that transgressors retreat to self-publishing for
    a few years, prove themselves honest, and then return to
    the fold.

    If plagiarists are not sinister and Machiavellian, then
    why do they do it? This question gets asked every time
    there’s a fresh revelation of plagiarism, whether it’s in
    the literary world, journalism, or academia. There’s never
    a satisfying answer, but there are at least lots of
    guesses, often somewhat at odds with each other: laziness
    or panic, narcissism or low self-esteem, ambition or
    deliberate self-sabotage.

    In poetry, at least, everyone agrees it’s not about the
    money. “One of the hardest things is that the stakes in
    poetry are not very high,” Kocher said. “I’m not a rocket
    scientist. I’m not going to cure cancer with one of my
    poems. I don’t get paid an extraordinary amount of money,
    and I don’t have any great notoriety outside of the
    writing community. So to take something that most people
    engage in as an act of joy and sully it this way—it just
    seems one of the most egregious offenses.”

    But does anyone write just for the money? Laurence Sterne,
    the plagiarist author of Tristram Shandy, said he wrote
    “not to be fed but to be famous.” Now, of course, he is.
    It worked.

    The Internet has made both plagiarism itself and its
    detection much easier for everyone. But the major cases
    that came up in 2013 have all concerned British and
    Australian poets, often, but not always, cribbing from
    American ones. Despite some speculation that our national
    character makes us less likely to plagiarize—Americans are
    obsessively respectful of private property! American egos
    are too big to rely on other people’s work!—there’s also
    the possibility that Americans have simply been lucky
    enough to not be caught in the current dragnet.

    For one, the primary detective is British, more familiar
    with the Commonwealth scene than the American one. And
    it’s not as if Americans haven’t been caught in the past.
    An Iowa poet named Neal Bowers, a former editor of Poet
    and Critic magazine, wrote a 1997 book about tracking down
    the Illinois elementary school teacher who published work
    copied from Bowers in 13 journals over the course of a few
    years. “It’s a very uneasy feeling,” Bowers told the New
    York Times at the time, “a bit like having a stalker.”

    The gut reactions of the plagiarized are hard to predict.
    The poet and essayist H.L. Hix, for example, found out in
    October that his work had been lifted by Graham Nunn in an
    Australian anthology of love poems. He said his first
    reaction to getting the news from Lightman was sheer
    surprise: “As a poet one gets used to being completely
    ignored.”

    Some victims feel moved to reach out the perpetrators.
    Kocher sent a note to Pham through Facebook after he
    posted a brief apology, which has since been removed, on
    his blog. She hasn’t heard back. (Pham has defended
    himself by saying he was simply naive and not taught about
    proper attribution; he also recently wrote that he has
    become a victim of cyberbullying.)

    After Paisley Rekdal posted her open letter to Christian
    Ward on her blog, she also asked online for an apology
    from him. She got one: a one-sentence email that she
    recalls as something to the effect of “I’m sorry, I’m not
    this kind of person.” It’s the kind of open, vacuous
    statement that could make you hate someone, or feel sorry
    for them, or both at once. “He gave me what I asked for,”
    she said, “but he gave me no more than what I asked for.”

    Is there such a thing as a resolution to a plagiarism
    story? Plagiarism isn’t a crime, there’s no universally
    accepted punishment for it, and the perfect expression of
    contrition may never come. Hix, for his part, says he has
    no plans to get in touch with Graham Nunn. “These were
    love poems that are being stolen,” he said. “I don’t have
    any more interest in speaking with Mr. Nunn than I would
    with the person who had broken into my house and stolen my
    property.”

  22. January 21, 2014
     Benjamin Robert

    Some distinction should be gently made between plagiarism as a
    masturbatory act of self aggrandizement, and plagiarism which
    carelessly denigrates the work from which it borrows. The former,
    though rather prevalent given this or that young buck's desire for
    quick-fix adulation, is merely shameful, but the latter is unforgivable.

    It is disappointing that so few publishers are even vaguely aware of
    content their competitors are pushing, to the extent that such
    intensely choreographed plagiarism makes it to press. A stupendous
    example was Shane Jones' Light Boxes, which was little less than a
    lacklustre whitewashing of Salvador Plascencia's superb and
    profoundly moving People of Paper.

    Penguin was too busy promoting Jones as some grand new voice of
    originality to notice alarming similarities to Sal's highly celebrated
    work published not too long before. That in itself would be predictable
    and yet upsetting, but the film contract, heaped praise (the usual
    suspects) and subsequent publications Jones has received seem to
    have drastically stymied Placensia's aspirations of a second novel. Now
    that really is fucking unforgivable.

  23. January 22, 2014
     James Richardson

    Christian Ward plagiarized one of my poems, too. At first this seemed amusing, puzzling. Then insulting: he used a 1977 book; couldn't he at least have stolen a better poem?

  24. March 24, 2015
     Dirtclustit

    What I heard was the names that together, made up the
    combined list of names in Rekdall (which I choose to
    pronounce "wrecked all" and not "RECording TALiban"

    and eventually, despite man's best attempt to keep the
    truth from becoming common knowledge (in order to
    maintain their wrongful control) it is an impossible
    task, and one that will cost them dearly.

    We all are born with the extremely adequate talents of
    being able to discern our own love from hate, if nothing
    else at least within the context of our own words. The
    same is true of truth and lies, again, if nothing else at
    the very least within the context of our own words

    To not have learned why it is so foolish to pretend we
    could ever get confused with the two distinctions of the
    four concepts, which is really only one distinction
    between two concepts -- which when it comes down to it,
    is really nothing more than making one all important
    decision when faced with two choices -- it is foolish to
    pretend we don't comprehend that it really is as simple
    as denial or acceptance

    So it doesn't matter if you choose to see it as the deny
    or admit question when the faced with the truth

    or whether you choose to see it as the choice to deny or
    admit what is false

    Within this world that is the One Living Heaven, if there
    is one thing that can never be disputed, it is that you
    didn't get a choice to live the rest of your lives in the
    Highest House and Kingdom, those who choose death and
    deny any further life in this house, will eventually find
    the House they can feel comfortable choosing life

    to deny the truth, or to accept death, is to decide that
    this place is not your place among the living in Heaven

    it's up to you, don't be foolish enough to be influenced
    by those who claim they didn't know that all they had to
    do, was make the decision

  25. April 2, 2015
     Joan Johnston

    A published poem of mine has just been plagiarised - and recently
    published.
    The position publishers take when this is uncovered is crucial in my
    opinion.

  26. August 18, 2015
     J. Simmons

    I rewrote "Honey I Love" by Eloise Greenfield. It is an
    example of meter, word choice, and each verse represents
    something special about me. Is this plagiarism? It is
    not published anywhere

  27. June 26, 2016
     JNM

    Hi Ruth, I liked your article. Plus I love NH, so Rock On!