Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Christian Ward and the Hope Bourne Poetry Prize

By now, most people in the poetry world have heard of Christian Ward. Mr. Ward entered a poem called "The Deer at Exmoor" into the Exmoor Society's Hope Bourne Poetry Prize. It won.

The only problem? The poem bears a striking resemblance to a poem called "The Deer", written by Helen Mort. According to an article in The Telegraph:
Mr Ward is believed to have changed only a handful of words from Miss Mort’s poem, replacing “father” for “mother” in the first line, “river Exe” for “Ullapool” in the second verse and changing the reference to a “kingfisher” near Rannoch Moor in Perthshire, Scotland, to a peregrine falcon on Bossington Beach, Exmoor.
The Guardian has a longer article in which Mr. Ward claims that he "had no intention of deliberately plagiarising her work" and that "This incident is all my fault and I fully accept the consequences of my actions."

All I can say is at least he had the guts to own up to what he had done (sort of) and apologize for it (sort of).

But that's not the end of it. According to this blog post, Mr. Ward admitted to plagiarizing a poem from Tim Dooley, and "ANON 6 has just had to take down another poem of his which is almost word-for-word the same as a poem called Bats by the American poet Paisley Rekdal." So that makes three instances of apparent or admitted plagairism and copyright infringement.

Further reading:
Another writer responds (note that I don't condone violence in response to plagiarism)

[Photo courtesy of Photokanok /]

1 comment:

  1. Damn. Thanks for blogging about this and for those links.