Came across a news article this week about a poetry competition where the winner was found to have borrowed a large chunk of his winning submission from someone else.
Several things caught my interest while I was burrowing deeper into the tale of literary intrigue and theft of words.
Firstly the age of the person involved and the lameness of the excuses he offered for his behavior. I would think that an adult of over thirty years of age would have a well rounded perception of what constitutes a “mistake” or a “misunderstanding”.
The other thing was the response of people whose work had been stolen. I’ve never been plagarised to my knowledge but I can only imagine what it might feel like.
‘They’re just words’ some people might say but writing is a form of creation and can be a very intense, personal and sometimes painful process. Words come from a place deep inside and often when all else has been taken from us, words are all we have left.
To have something you gave birth to stolen and changed… nah, I can’t imagine that’s a good feeling at all.
One of the affected poets wrote an open letter which you can see on her blog by following the link below.
I loved the words she used.
I wished I could find a way to make them rhyme with disgusted and annoyed but hey, I’m no poet =). Perhaps if the unfortunate perpetrator of this verbal robbery had admitted his lack of poetic skills upfront, all this furor might have been avoided.