On Plagiarism


Let’s face it, they say ‘imitation is the most sincere form of flattery’, but as any struggling writer who’s been plagiarised can tell you, it doesn’t feel very good. Especially when others make money from publishing or performing the work they pilfered from your book or blog without permission.

Living in Brisbane, I have become painfully aware of the recent ‘plagiarism scandal’, which have tainted the local scene and reinforced what many of us older poets in Queensland already knew.  The architects of the current situation, in which many fine poets of note have been deliberately excluded from publicly funded festivals (that they helped set up in the first place), have been vocal in decrying any critics as just being bitter and twisted, and/or ‘bad’ poets.

Here’s a link to an Overland article that dealt with the Brisbane incidence. As a published poet of long-standing, I remarked in the comments thread that I believe the rise of the internet and therefore bypassing editorial opinion and going straight to print (or youtube), coupled with the rise of loud and ‘entertaining’ Slam poetry has, in my humble opinion, adversely affected Australian poetry and allowed stage junkies and narcissists to take over the art form locally.

(Some younger poets, who have particularly benefitted from the Slam model, used this as an opportunity to pillory me for my opinion and suggest that my lack of success in being programmed is because my work just isn’t as good as theirs. To which I replied, – as you do! – ‘I will leave that for others to judge’.)

Such people have, of course, never even encountered my work, though I have been publishing since the 1980s. But they were so rude, dismissive, and so certain of their own superiority that I thought it was time to digitise my own published output, so that others CAN, in fact, judge it for themselves. I make no special claims, this is just a record of what I have written, and some of the early work might even be cringeworthy – though I suspect the time has finally come for some of the more feminist content.

Anyhow, this is an interesting article from 2013, and the comments blew the whole debate wide open. Whether entering the fray was a good decision or not, well … I just think you can’t always let the bastards win. And I didn’t devote 25 years of my life to the art of poetry only to be deliberately ‘disappeared’ by pretenders and their cronies. ‘Post Modernism’, my arse!