Award winning poet based a majority of his poems on others’ works.
“Poetry detective,” Ira Lightman has a shocking discovery, when a 2013 collection of poet, Laureate Pierre DesRuisseaux‘s, work was published in French.
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As first reported by the Guardian, according to Lightman after “two days of sleuthing found 30 out of 47 poems that were heavily based on the work of others.” This includes rewording of Maya Angelou and 2Pac.
DesRuisseaux made such minor adjustments to the work that it’s pretty clear where he got his inspiration. This is very alarming, since he was awarded the Governer General’s Award for French poetry and titled a parliamentary poet laureate, before he passed last January.
Take a look a piece from his poem “When I’m Alone,” below:
Sometimes when I’m alone I cryBecause I’m alone.The tears I cry are bitter and burning.They flow with life, they do not need reason.
Here’s a snip of 2Pac’s “When I Cry”
Sometimes when I’m aloneI cry because I’m on my ownThe tears I cry are bitter and warmThey flow with life but take no form
The spotlight was first placed on DesRuisseaux in 2016. Kathy Figueroa, a poet, was able to point out similarities between Angelou’s “Still I Rise” and the English version of “JaVance” (“I Rise” in English). She posted her notes on a Facebook group, “Plagiarism Alerts” and then it all went down hill from there.