|Photo: The old stocks at Chapeltown, Lancashire (Wikipedia)|
The poet Christian Ward has said that he had 'no intention of deliberately plagiarising' [sic] the work of another writer after it was discovered that his prize-winning entry to a poetry competition was lifted 'almost word-for-word' from a poem by Helen Mort.
Ward's poem The Deer at Exmoor won the Exmoor Society's Hope Bourne poetry prize, but organisers [sic] later discovered that it was virtually identical to an earlier work by Mort, Deer. The similarities were revealed by the Western Morning News last week, with Ward said by the paper to have replaced "\'only a handful of words,' switching 'father' for 'mother' in the first line, the 'river Exe' for 'Ullapool' and transforming Mort's description of 'the kingfisher / that darned the river south of Rannoch Moor' to a peregrine falcon on Bossington Beach.
On learning of the similarities, Mort – whose collection Division Street will be published later this year by Chatto & Windus – wrote on Twitter: 'Thanks for the backhanded compliment, Mr Ward, but I think you'll find thieving poetry is bad karma. At the very least.'"
— Alison Flood, The Guardian
You can find both poems in the "Comments" section of this article:
"[...] One of the West Country's best known poets, James Crowden, said: 'What Christian Ward has done is outrageous. Maybe Christian Ward should be put in the stocks in Dulverton and pilloried, and a large supply of rotten eggs and tomatoes gathered together. In fact, because the poem is about deer on Exmoor, he really should be tried and punished as if he was a deer poacher which, in ancient times, carried a very severe penalty indeed.'"
— This Is Cornwall
Find out more about Helen Mort and her poetry here...