Plagiarism Debate 2018

CONFLICTING VIEWS ON PLAGIARISM

250px-George_Gordon_Byron,_6th_Baron_Byron_by_Richard_Westall_(2)(Portrait of Lord Byron by Richard Westall.)

THE DEBATE over plagiarism which kicked off with the Ailey O’Toole revelations rages on. The latest: fledgling poet Claudia Cortese having aspects and wordings of her work apparently borrowed by poet Lisa Low in the journal Quarterly West.

EXPRESSED by different sides have been opposing viewpoints regarding questions of fair use, intellectual property, and the like.

At one pole, the online literary site Soft Cartel:

(Anything goes? The individual lost in the mob?)

AT the other pole might be members of the Poetry Cops, who’ve taken it upon themselves to eliminate writings and blackball other writers and journals to the fullest extent possible. A sample opinion:

Note the apologizing and “enduring punishment” part of the tweet– hallmarks of the would-be totalitarian.

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Where do we at New Pop Lit stand? I have a track record for speaking out publicly against plagiarism, dating back to 2005. I took a great deal of heat at the time from powerful literary personages for doing so. I leave it now to others to discuss the legal/philosophical aspects of the matter.

THE QUESTION I want to ask here is: Why does someone plagiarize?

The answer back in 2005, for the essayist involved, was pure laziness. The individual was writing long essays for a variety of high-profile magazines, making good money in doing so, and from lethargy, or ineptness, took as many shortcuts as possible.

What about today’s poetry borrowings?

The only excuse for doing it at all– having another poet’s work in front of you as you construct your own– is apprenticeship. Learning the craft. Even in that instance, one would expect the apprentice poet to A.) Use one of the acknowledged best at the game as model; a T.S. Eliot or Sylvia Plath.  B.) Never, never submit those practice poems to a literary journal for publication.

Which is where intent comes into consideration. The only reason to copy an unknown poet’s work, who moreover writes in the current fashion, is in an effort to be published.

These thoughts merely my own viewpoint. . . .

p.s. Lord Byron was involved in a plagiarism scandal over a novel fragment which may or may not have been plagiarized by another writer.
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-Karl Wenclas, New Pop Lit NEWS

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Death of the Alt-Right

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While it will likely stumble on in the political sphere a while longer, the so-called alt -right is finished in the literary realm. Didn’t take much to end it. An alt-right site, Excavation– digging up the underground, was forced to shut down by an aggressive antifa campaign. Its editor, Michael Marrotti, has vanished from view. From what evidence I’ve seen, the criminalized words he used ranged from “Jewish Sharia” to “white pride.” As epithets,  fairly mild– but still thought crimes in this well-regulated time. The poets who’d published their work at the site didn’t realize he was a white supremacist until told about it.

Marrotti himself is a working class poet from the rust belt city of Pittsburgh– not a person of any power. “Supremacist” is a misnomer. “Defensivist” might be more accurate.

“It’s all about pain
steak knives used
to warm the soul
from a frigid planet”
-from Marrotti’s poem, “Optimistic Poetry”

Another alt-right site, Casper Magazine, changed its name several months ago when the ideological weather vane began changing– at the same time its original editor, “Pozwald Spengler,” either radically changed his identity and belief system, or sped away without a whimper of protest, not to be heard from again.

At least two stories were expunged from the site, “Cathy” by Ben Arzate, and “Scumbag,” by Alice Florida Xu. They’ve been safely flushed down the Orwellian memory hole. No complaints heard yet from either of the two writers. Given today’s hysterical McCarthyist climate, one can understand their silence.

Other alt-right figures who were once buoyant about creating an intellectual alternative to today’s p.c. monolith have backed off from, or recanted, their ideas.

OUR CONCLUSION is that it was never much of a movement– more straw man than army. Its few writers and editors were easily intimidated. If any remain they’ll be rounded up by the antifa posses, publicly chastized and silenced.
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How much of a danger did alt-right-leaning writers pose? Could they have posed?

It’s noteworthy that these advocates of “supremacy” had not a sole representative at any of this nation’s major cultural and literary institutions. Not at publishing’s Big Five, nor at the Washington Post or New York Times, nor at The New Yorker magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, New York Review of Books, Bookforum, LARB, etc. etc. etc. Instead, individuals of marked privilege themselves at these bastions of influence have used the opportunity to themselves denounce any trace of alt-right thinking in literature today, to adopt a posture against privilege, and approve and endorse the angry antifa posses.

In the literary sphere, there are dangers and then there are dangers.

 

#1 Seeds

Two American writers were so gigantic in standing and influence, even on the world stage, that they’re automatic #1 seeds. Both of them, in ways good or bad, helped define what it is to be American.

A.) Ernest Hemingway

hemingway at work

B.) Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

We’ll explain our choices this afternoon at New Pop Lit’s Interactive blog.

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We’re re-discussing the other two #1 seeds. May not announce those until the weekend. . . .

Interview with a Poet

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Pop poetry is news. Today we interview poet Bruce Dale Wise, who isn’t specifically a pop poet– though he tells us he’s been writing pop poems, as well as other forms, for years. Bruce is kind of a one-man poem factory. Not surprisingly, he includes poems in his answers.
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NEW POP LIT:  You’ve said the 1950’s was not the peak period of American poetry. In your opinion, what period was?

BRUCE DALE WISE:  I’m absolutely sure American poetry has not reached its peak yet. I think American poetry will go beyond all that it has achieved.
Though there are good poems and poets from every period, and each era has good qualities that the others lack, I lean to our time, the New Millennial period; the Internet has opened up the possibilities of American poetry, and I think it is exciting to be writing right now.

NPL:  In what ways is your poetry classical? In what ways is it postmodern?

BDW:  It’s classical in that I download ancients, like antanaclasis, am ironic, have epithets will unravel, use synecdoche, symbol and simile, employ metonymy, metaphor, and metre, weigh syllables, and like rhyme.

It’s Postmodern in that I intertext, like retro, am playful, have multiple identities, am hyperreal, and like the royal nonesuch.

NPL:  Please give capsule comments of any or all of the following:

-Edgar Allan Poe

psycho-dark, trochaic crow

-Emily Dickinson

balladeer in headlights

-Walt Whitman

diehard yawper, selfie-unleashed

-T.S. Eliot

new-rotic thief

-Ezra Pound

orphick maniac

-Robert Frost

circumspect rustic

-Kenneth Rexroth

trance-later

-Robert Lowell

robert-lowell
On the Mediocre Manifestations of Robert Lowell
for G. M. H. Thomson

The poetry of Robert Lowell would better serve as planks
in whalers or for firewood for stern New England Yanks.
That grand inquisitor of narcissism left his curse
of wooden, Puritannical, rhetoric’lly-stiff verse.
Lord Weary’s Castle is so ti-rrr-ing it wears one down;
its Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket bores one to the ground.
If Frost had been a piece of cardboard soaked in turpentine
for seventy long years, he’d have become a Lowell twine.
L. Bogan nailed his style—high-pitched, Baroque intensity—
a cross between Donne’s Metafizz and Melville’s density.

-Allen Ginsberg

howling be-attitude

-Sylvia Plath

bi-polar bearer

-Robert Creeley

pop-psych Cyclops

-Maya Angelou

uncaged macaw

-language poetry

languishing, anguishing, hang out the washing, wishing machine

-flarf poetry

Another Literary (Bowel) Movement

“No poet…has his complete meaning alone.”
—T. S. Eliot, Tradition and Individual Talent

If flarf is only so much avante-garde rehashed,
a cutting up of texts, bizarre trajectories,
then it is nothing more than bloviating, mashed-
montage junkspeech, a splash of crushing nectarines.
If flarf is only so much fluff without dream’s stuff,
its reject glories but reshuffled errancies,
a googol Google-goggles gone up in a guff,
then it’s damn yadda dada data dayadhvam.
If flarf is only one technique, a stylized puff,
a sweep of e. e. cummings going o’er the dam
of jetsam/flotsam/get-some/got-some crashflash smashed,
without tradition, it is individu’l spam.

-hip-hop

scop shop (pronounced shope shop)

-open mics

Poetic Slams

Poetic slams are all the rage. The people rise
up, yes, to let it all out—Pentacostally.
Perhaps they grab a mike with fire in their eyes,
and then proceed t’ orate, o, so passionately.
Like lovers giving lovers kisses, they begin
to let fly words. A hundred at a time, words flee
from out round mouths, o, hundreds at a time they spin.
And then it all starts to add up to thousands, yow,
so that one cannot count them all in such a din.
They go at it, like wolves out in the night—and howl—
intoxicated, soaring on linguistic cries
and verbal acrobatics, slamming, whamming, zow.

-poetry in the academy

itty-bitty uni-verse

NPL:  Who is the best current American poet, in your opinion?

BDW:  I sure as hell am trying to do my best, but as for best…

America is chock-a-block with poets; there are millions; and you can learn something from nearly all of ’em, even if it’s learning what not to do.

NPL:  How do you view the future of American poetry?

BDW:  Jetsonic, like the Jetsons, out there—boldly going where no one has gone before—at warp speed.
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(For more Bruce Dale Wise poetry see our Four Poems feature on Bruce.)

Tarzana Joe at New Pop Lit!

tarzana-joe-elizabethan

Tarzana Joe is one of America’s few true poet celebrities, via his regular appearances on the nationally syndicated Hugh Hewitt Show. It’s therefore a mini-coup to obtain one of his poems for our Fun Pop Poetry feature. See the poem.

Tarzana Joe could be called the uncrowned champion of contemporary pop poetry. At the moment he is the master of the form.

American pop poetry has a long pedigree. Edgar Allan Poe was a pop poet through widely-known works like “The Bells,” “The Raven,” and “El Dorado.” Robert W. Service is another classic example of an American pop poet, whose “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” was wildly popular in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

Our goal with our Fun Pop Poetry feature is to restore the profile of the pop poetry genre in America.

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POP POETRY TODAY

While Tarzana Joe is pop poetry’s leading personality, we’re discovering no shortage of other claimants to that designation. Among them:

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Blixa BelGrande, whose poetry ranges from the furious to the facetious to the outrageous.

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Cerebral poet Bruce Dale Wise  practices all poetic styles, pop included. In an interview, soon to be featured at New Pop Lit, Bruce doesn’t exclude himself from title of best current American poet. (Gotta love the confidence.)

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Craig Kurtz has been writing pop poetry since the 1990’s, usually with a historical motif.

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(Artwork by Dan Nielsen.)

Dan Nielsen pens witty Dorothy Parkerisms, in addition to crisp avant-garde stylings. (More coming from Dan next week.)

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Emerson Dameron runs the Weird Deer website, and has performed at open mics around the country. So far we’ve obtained only one pop poem from Emerson, but it was a good one.

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Other pop poets we’ve featured or will feature include spoken word veteran Wred Fright; ace short story writer Scott Cannon; and Tarzana Joe-wannabe Ellsworth B. Smith.

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Keep up with the pop poetry movement at Fun Pop Poetry.