simon williams

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Unconscious plagiarism

Wondered if any other poets had this experience. I have two poems now which I've written but am worried that I've (unconsciously) plagiarised from somewhere. They came too easily and pretty much fully formed and felt immediately familiar. I've read back through all my books of poetry (no small task) without finding the source(s). I've also tried googling lines from them with no luck. But I'm paranoid about sharing them and having people think I'm attempting to pass someone else's ideas off as my own.
8 days ago
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I think I have had this experience. I did not know it myself. I realised when someone pointed that out to me. I did not agree at first, as i was quite sure i have never read any such work (like the poem which i might have unconsciously plagiarized) of others.
But later i did get the feeling that i might not own that poem. It might be because of that remark or maybe because of the expressions that i have used in that work. I believe, sometimes things in poetry do get expressed with a similar touch.
8 days ago
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I'm usually happy when the words come 'too easily and pretty much fully formed' and if I've plagiarised myself then what the heck. But I understand your point. I wrote a poem called 'sleepnow and movecloser' and for several days it bugged the life out of me wondering were I'd got the inspiration until I realised I'd unconsciously ripped off Roger McGough's 'Comeclose and Sleepnow'.

But as long as you acknowledge the original author when posting online or performing then I can't see any problem. One would hope that the original author (should they ever find out) would be flattered rather than angered. Likewise if you cannot find the original source (maybe it doesn't exist) then a simple acknowledgement to that effect would suffice. Not sure it's worth getting overly paranoid about.

We all gather inspiration from various sources and some of this, perhaps a great deal, is unconsciously stored and released. I guess there's a fine line between inspiration and unconscious plagiarism but neither are premeditated like intentional plagiarism.

A good question Simon. Thanks for posting. Colin.
4 days ago
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hi simon
if you are concerned that thematically they are similar to pieces already out there without being a word for word copy, you could always include a quote at the beginning from the poets you feel inspired the piece, or dedicate the poems to said poets. this may ease your concern.

edit - just read your response colin. wasnt plagiarizing you, i promise!
4 days ago
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There is one pome on me book - the clinching lines of which struck me as possibly unoriginal - they were too good for me 😃
I did the google thing - looked everywhere I could and found no trace - so, if anyone does come up with evidence that I copied the idea from a song or a poem I'll have to accept it - meanwhile...hey ho 😃
4 days ago
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rest easy Stu - my lawyers have been restrained 😉
4 days ago
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