Friday, June 14, 2013

Poetry & Plagiarism

In the 1st century, the use of the Latin word "plagiarius" (literally "kidnapper"), to denote someone stealing someone else's work, was pioneered by Roman poet Martial, who complained that another poet had "kidnapped his verses." This use of the word was introduced into English in 1601 by dramatist Ben Jonson, to describe as a "plagiary" someone guilty of literary theft.
~"Plagiarism," Wikipedia

Today we have a collection of articles about poetic plagiarism. I hadn't really imagined that people tried to pass off other people's poems as their own until I read about the Christian Ward case. And then I read about the David Morgan case.

My interest in the subject was piqued, so I found the other info below to share with you. One thing that gives me pause is the concept of intentional vs. unintentional plagiarism. Here's an article that discusses one variant of that -- a well-known poet gave credit to a lesser-known poet, but he didn't give her credit every time (such as when he shared the poem at readings), and some people wound up thinking she had copied him rather than vice versa.

Would love to hear what you think!

* Court fines poet Hisham Aljakh for plagiarism , Egypt Independent (June 6, 2103)
* The World's First Plagiarism Case, Plagiarism Today (October 4, 2011)
* Case Study: Tracking a Sneaky Plagiarist Poet, Plagiarism Today (October 5, 2010)
* The Accidental Plagiarist: The Trouble with Originality, Virginia Quarterly Review (2007)
* What Rhymes With, uh, Plagiarism?, New York Times (October 25, 1994)
* Prison poets caught in plagiarism bid, The Telegraph
* Incidents of children's poetry plagiarism
* Dark Poetry offers thoughts on how to protect yourself from plagiarism

Margaret has the Poetry Friday round-up today at Reflections on the Teche.


Linda B said...

I didn't read all the articles, but will return for more later, Tabatha. I read about the two cases & the children's poetry article. It's a constant teaching & re-teaching at my school, & so easy for students to do. I think that mostly we do a good job at knowing the students' abilities so well that when there is even a very well-crafted sentence unexpected, we question it. The additional issue is also images used without permission. I'm so wary of this on my blog, & have found more 'commons' sites for students (& teachers) to share. Thanks for so much 'good' info. I guess we cannot really know when poetry has been 'kidnapped', can we, unless published, etc.

Bridget Magee said...

Wow, a lot of information to look through here, Tabatha. Thank you for compiling it and bringing it to our attention. Plagiarism is a very real problem in lots of areas including poetry.

Mary Lee said...

Plagiarism and influence and the borrowing of a seed idea to make something new and parody are all very tricky strings for kids to sort out...but it pleases me that at 5th grade they still care about doing the right thing!