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.”