Thursday, December 27, 2012

Anarchist12 at Fanstory

Fanstory appears to have another plagiarist, or maybe one has already come and gone. More on the "come and gone" part of that later.

First the evidence. On December 18, 2012, Anarchist12 posted a poem called "winterscape".  Here is the poem with the line breaks omitted (emphasis is mine):
"draped in monochrome as far as spying eye black knives of fir thrust deep into the sky  white snow lapping at roots when the first sun slid through the woods jumping leaping from tree to tree rock to rock like a spreading flame  icy air and fathomless quiet  the landscape surged into magic endless surging spurry-like color"
And here is a passage from "The Secret Agent" by Francine Mathews. Again the emphasis is mine:
"She slipped away from Max...hoping the icy air and fathomless quiet would slap some sense into her skull. The world at this hour was monochrome: black knives of fir thrust deep into the sky, white snow lapping at their roots. When the first sun slid through the woods, jumping from tree to tree like a spreading flame, the landscape surged into color."
The poem makes use of identical phrases from the novel. The relevant passage from the book can be seen here. Screen shots of both the plagiarized poem and the passage are here:

Tammy Gail Behnke: Update #1

[Tammy Gail Behnke was the subject of a previous post.]

Ms. Behnke published a book on Createspace and Amazon on December 14, 2012, called "Golden Lotus: Remembrances of Sylvia Plath". The Amazon page currently shows the book as out of print. A number of the poems in the book appear to have been copied from other sources.


"unearthed", p 10 -- Source: "Twins Say Goodbye", Dragonyear, DUP

"spilling inside", p 15 -- Source "a complete history of sculpture" by aglitch, DUP

"compulsory confession", p 17-18 -- Source: "twenty one revolutions hit like skylight shrapnel", cultofstars,

"i opened myself today", p 19-20 - Source: "Wandering Without Destination", Dragonyear, DUP

"committed", p 40-41 -- Source: "Loch Ness", Dragonyear, DUP and TUS

"billet-doux", p 45 -- Source: "(yes, another love poem) selenophobia remedied", Mr A, DUP

"strings unknown", p 52 -- Source: "Quarter Inch Reveal" Dragonyer, DUP

"ink regime", p 59 -- Source: Heavily based on "Darker Than Black", Dragonyear, DUP

"breaking bread", p 60-61 -- Source: "Third Eye Triangle", Dragonyear, DUP

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

T. S. Eliot Quote Regarding Plagiarism

Many people have read a quote attributed to T. S. Eliot that goes as follows:
"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal."
These words come from an article that Eliot wrote about Philip Massinger. However, it is instructive to read a bit further in the article:
"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion."
The last line is particularly relevant as that is exactly the reason I suspected plagiarism on the Fanstory site. Inconsistent writing with glimmers of originality provoked my suspicions, and I found that the glimmers of originality were generally the parts of the poems--or the entire poems--that appeared to be lifted from other sources. The incoherent and weak poems and parts of poems belonged to the poet who did the lifting.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Spotting Plagiarism in Poetry

While doing some research regarding poetry plagiarism, I ran across a post at PlagairismToday called "Case Study: Tracking a Sneaky Plagiarist Poet".

In the post, the author, Jonathan Bailey discusses how he was contacted by an administrator of a writing web  site who suspected that a member had plagiarized one of Mr. Bailey's poems. Mr. Bailey writes about how he went about determining that the poem was plagiarized--although not, apparently, from him--and what resources he recommends for people wishing to do the same. He compares the utility of Google, Copyscape, and Plagium.

 Near the end of the article, Mr. Bailey said something that really resonated with me. He wrote:
[The poem] had all the hallmarks of a plagiarized piece that had been partly rewritten. There were inconsistencies in the language, odd word choices and changes in the language. Where most of the poem seemed to be in very plain tones, some of the passages shifted to a wordy, almost formal tone.
I had someone asked me why I thought to even look for the apparent plagiarism committed by Tammy Gail Behnke. And my answer was similar to the above. I told that person that Ms. Behnke's poems seemed very inconsistent in quality, ranging from a bunch of multi-syllable poetic-sounding words tossed together in an impossible-to-decipher mess to a few that had quite good imagery and metaphors. Her comments on other poets' works were almost always "rah rah" and "loved the emotion, my friend" type responses that demonstrated no knowledge of poetry technique at all. Then one day, she posted a poem that I thought was quite good and, frankly, way beyond her skill level. I was skeptical that the poem could be hers. Thirty seconds with Google and I had my answer.

I recommend that anyone interested in detecting plagiarism on the Internet, whether in poetry or prose, read the entire article. The PlagiarismToday web site also has a great many other articles and news relating to plagiarism and copyright infringement.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tammy Gail Behnke at Fanstory

Tammy Gail Behnke has been a member of Fanstory since 2011. During 2012, she moved up through the ranks to become one of the more highly ranked poets on the site. The only problem? Many of the poems that she posted had been previously published on other sites--blogs, poetry workshops, in books, etc--by other people.

Now one could argue that she had multiple accounts at another site and that poems were really hers. However, included in the list of copied poems are those by a dead Romanian poet, two male bloggers, and Ms. Behnke's deceased brother-in-law (if you believe the claims posted on Fanstory by Ms. Behnke and a user claiming to be her husband Mark). I find it extremely unlikely that Ms. Behnke was all those other people, most especially the dead Romanian poet.

After she was reported to Fanstory site admin (several times), her and her husband's accounts both became in active. Her poems were either "deleted" or "removed from the public view", and therefore I was not able to get screenshots of all of the poems addressed in this blog. Generally the older the poem, the more likely it is to have a screenshot. Screenshots, with authors and posting dates, are available unless otherwise noted with [NSCA], which stands for "No Screen Shot Available".

Following the cut is a list in reverse chronological order of the poems that I am aware of that match poems previously published elsewhere. Warning. It's a doozy--55 poems and counting!