GRIFTERS OF THE WORD: PLAGIARISM, POETRY AND TUCK

June 27, 2013 Editorial

 

 

 

 

 

Oxford Dictionary

Plagiarism

noun

[mass noun]

the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.

Tuck is no longer a virgin. We lost our innocence earlier this year, courtesy of plagiarist David R. Morgan

This had to happen and in a way it was a clear indication that Tuck is no longer an obscure publication on the fringe. We are now a respected and viable resource for poets and writers seeking the validation of publication and because our reputation has been growing, it is a surprise we weren’t hoodwinked sooner.

Plagiarist and wannabe poet David R. Morgan perpetrated an incredible creative fraud on many publishing entities such as Ink, Sweat and Tears, Poetry Space and Tuck, passing off the work of poets Charles O Hartman, Colin Morton and Roger McGough as his own. The work he pilfered in both print and online were complete poems and not just extracts. He was brazen enough to comply with a photograph for us, showing no fear of exposure. So complete was this sham that even icon and poet Ted Hughes was snookered. You can read Hughes’ assessment HERE.

 

Plagiarism is theft and we all know the human capacity for lifting things that belong to another. Dishonesty plagues us in advertising, government responses to public inquiry, celebrity culture and let’s be frank many people won’t even tell the truth about their age, thus lying has become the order of the day in every sphere of life. If I were to wax philosophical I could say that we are all getting our panties in a wad over something that is a symptom of a greater problem and not the problem itself. Indeed, it is a more complex issue than plagiarized poetry and not one we will probably ever solve unless individually we all have a spiritual epiphany and ascend to a higher plane. I won’t hold my breath for that but on the other hand there is a positive to this negative: The reason David R. Morgan was able to fool so many for so long says more about the good in our society than the bad. Despite the corruption that exists on this planet, we operate on a foundation of trust, giving the benefit of the doubt often and while this does make us vulnerable, it is essential for any group to function at all.  I for one don’t want to lose this very humane way of relating in an otherwise jaded, isolated and cynical world.

 

In the future Tuck will be paying even closer attention to every submission sent to us but we are not going to be Chicken Little, no matter how many people keep pointing up at the sky in a panic. Tuck exists to give talented emerging indie writers a publishing clip and a confidence boost and we will not deviate from that policy.

Ultimately, Morgan’s admission of guilt was smug, his apology trite and convenient but from this fiasco, something important has occurred: poetry is being discussed. Say what you will, the poetry community hasn’t had this much mainstream chatter in a good long time, and as Oscar Wilde once said “The only thing worse that being talked about is not being talked about.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

  1. E A S June 29, at 16:01

    It did happen to me this year, and I am watching out for this guy- he swore he deleted the story and my ideas and research, but who knows. He sent me a story using it all and I have the email saying it was mine to do with as I pleased. I stuck with my guns on this, got the bad ass Gemini twin on this one! Ha!

    Reply
    • Administrator June 30, at 23:13

      A Gemini on your literary tail is not a good thing, not a good thing at all. ;)

      Reply
  2. E A S June 28, at 00:55

    Not to be a writing nazi but the last two paragraphs are repeating- or are you being the sassy girl we love and plagiarizing yourself :)Great piece and I am so glad you point out there is still good in people, remember this towards the end of my comment.If poets use a line for an opening intro under title or even writing found (cento) poetry, they just credit the sources to keep from getting into this kind of trouble. Its a no brainier, but it sounds like he had years of block, personal problems (I try and walk in their shoes, although it isn't right what he did, because we all have problems sometime) and just lifted others work thinking he would never get caught, like a serial killer who gets more brazen with each kill.Sad when people think they are not good enough and want fame then go to (wrong) lengths to get noticed and we realize a psychopath was waving at us from the podium. Harsh? No, I believe anyone who is a serial liar has issues and is dangerous, think of what else they are capable of doing. Harsh. No, I would want to be made responsible for my actions if I was caught doing something I clearly new was wrong. An I'm sorry doesn't help the beaten and abused victims. Forgiveness is a step for us, but thankfully he has to live with what he's done. Okay I will stop here.And I clearly did not say he had to be executed, I am not into that unless someone has sexually abused children- castration, just given the low road for a very long while to think on things.

    Reply
    • Administrator June 28, at 01:58

      No repetition here Elizabeth, just an abundance of emphasis. I agree with much of what you say and historically humanity in all aspects is littered with parasites who have fed off the hard work of others to either great acclaim or public shame. In the publishing business there are many ways to have your work stolen. Whenever a writer sends work off to a literary agent, small, medium or large publishing house, there is a risk that an idea, partial or even full manuscript can be lifted. There is very little recourse for the struggling writer under these David v Goliath circumstances. This is part of the territory and not for sissies. Writing is hard work for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the protection and ownership of your art. At the end of the day, all anyone can do is put one foot in front of the other, know that treachery exists but be shrewd about our choices while keeping our integrity intact.

      Reply

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