Big news in the poetry world this week… the big ‘P’. Not publishing, but plagiarism! Wow. Guess the news in The Guardian gives perspective to all us ‘real’ poets out there. Why does a poet bother writing verse in the first place? For those who consider themselves professional, it is simply to share with the world an art form that is subjective to the author, with the purpose of ‘getting it out there’, often for little or no profit. Imagine then, that a poet comes along making it into the spotlight, winning National competitions here and there and appearing on TV. What do the rest of us think? Great – they’re doing their part to promote poetry, and even better when we realise that the poet in question has a day job as a teacher. Course, as the headlines show, this is all the stuff of smoke and mirrors. The verse has been ripped off from hardworking poets, who suffer insult on top of injury when their work is not only plagiarised, but carried far along the pound-lined Primrose path by an individual who has lost their moral compass.
So who gets hurt? I feel bad for all those genuine poets out there who have creativity and imagination and are talented and hardworking. I feel for the publishers who are now having to withdraw sales of their magazines, anthologies and books, at great cost to themselves. But most of all, I feel for the school children. What kind of message does that send to our youth? Go ahead and rip off copyrighted work, kids, and see how long you can get off Scot-free… grr! As a project leader of a creative writing group myself, I guess I feel strongly about this the most. Maybe I’m more idealistic than I thought!