Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 01-15-2013, 11:59 AM
Janice D. Soderling's Avatar
Janice D. Soderling Janice D. Soderling is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 14,175
Default The stolen deer at Exmoor

A friend of mine brought this Guardian article to my attention. It concerns a poetry thief who won the Exmoor prize with a plagiarized poem.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jan/14/poetry-competition-winner-plagiarist?commentpage=2#start-of-comments

http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Copycat-poet-s-apology-admitting-prize-winning/story-17853068-detail/story.html

http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Poet-Christian-Ward-says-m-sorry-prize-winning/story-17838451-detail/story.html

CWs comment

Quote:
Ward has now issued a statement to the Western Morning News about the "allegations of plagiarism" in the competition. He said he was "working on a poem about my childhood experiences in Exmoor and was careless", and that he "used Helen Mort's poem as a model for my own but rushed and ended up submitting a draft that wasn't entirely my own work".

"I had no intention of deliberately plagiarising her work. That is the truth," wrote Ward in his statement. "I am sorry this has happened and am making amends. This incident is all my fault and I fully accept the consequences of my actions. I apologise to the Exmoor Society, Helen Mort, the poetry community and to the readers of the WMN."

The poet, who described himself as a 31-year-old London poet in a (currently deleted) Write Out Loud profile, said he was now examining his published poems "to make sure there are no similar mistakes".

"I want to be as honest as I can with the poetry community and I know it will take some time to regain their trust," he wrote. "Already I have discovered a 2009 poem called The Neighbouris very similar to Tim Dooley's After Neruda and admit that a mistake has been made. I am still digging and want a fresh start. I am deeply sorry and look forward to regaining your trust in me."


I notice that CW in his Wikipedia page (which I suppose is written by him) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Ward has chosen to take the bull by the horns and made the following statement.

Quote:
Born in 1980, Christian Ward holds an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. His poetry has been published in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Poetry Review,[1] Magma, Iota [2] and Poetry Wales. He has translated a number of poets, including Amado Nervo and Charles Baudelaire. A prize winning poet, his accolades include being nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice, winning the 2010 East Riding Open Poetry Competition [3] and short listed for the 2012 Jane Martin Poetry Prize.

In early 2013, Ward became the subject of a controversy over plagiarism, after it was noted that one of his prize-winning poems was extremely similar to one of Helen Mort's.[4] Ward admitted the similarities and apologised, but said he 'had no intention of deliberately plagiarising' Mort's work.[5]



Is it permissible to use the word bald-faced.

Young Ward has consistently passed off poems and translations as his own work. When he snitched one of my translations a few years ago I did a little Google detective work.

(to be continued)

Last edited by Janice D. Soderling; 01-21-2013 at 02:20 AM. Reason: font change for readability
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 01-15-2013, 12:06 PM
Janice D. Soderling's Avatar
Janice D. Soderling Janice D. Soderling is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 14,175
Default The stolen deer (continued)

Background

The background to my discovery was that I posted a translation of an Edith Södergran poem at our Translation board. Södergran is has been translated more than probably any other Finnish poet, not only because of her fame but because her work is deceptive. It seems simple, but is very difficult to translate for a number of reasons I won't go into here and I mistranslated one of the lines of this poem.

Though Duncan (MacLaurin) objected to its correctness, I was less wise than I am today and I so wanted it to mean what I wanted it to mean that I didn't heed his advice. Instead of letting the poem mature, I sent it to Frostwriting, a Sweden-based English language zine where it was published. Frostwriting was founded and edited by several friends with whom I had studied creative writing at Gävle universitet, all speaking both Swedish and English and by the time I had decided Duncan was right and I was wrong, it had already appeared online.

It was a bit of a fluke that I discovered CW's theft. His method of operation, or so my detective work led me later to believe, is that he either flinches translations from obscure bloggers who usually are translating from their own language into English OR he google-translates and then he prettifies the result. He seems to not be a bad poet (I assume he writes his own poems ) so why he should stoop to such dastardly deeds is beyond me.

In this particular case it happened that a German blogger, a Södergran admirer, saw my translation of the Eratosphere board and published it in her own blog in Germany, crediting me as the translator by name (but without my writer D.) Some months later, a new issue of Loch Raven Review appeared and lo, and behold there was my translation published under the name of Christian Ward, with minor substitutions of a few words but with the mistranslated line INTACT.

I immediately got in touch with the editors at Loch Raven Review (Jim Doss and Chris George) referring them to the publication at Frostwriting and to their credit, they took down the poem immediately. CW had perhaps sent off his purloined poem before mine appeared at Frostwriting. Otherwise a simple google would have deterred him. He included the poem also in an e-edition of Edith Södergran translations supposedly by him. http://scars.tv/pdf/2009/The-Stars-and-Other-Poems.pdf This version has since been revised.

The rest was easy, bless Google's little old cotton-plucking heart. For instance the poem on page 8 of CWs ezine derives from a blog belonging to a Norwegian who says
Quote:
I have risked translating a small poem. Seeing as my mother tongue is not Swedish but Norwegian, this is slightly daring, but our languages are so alike that they are almost counted as dialects. Anyone is invited to suggest improvements, though ;-)


And indeed, a number of people commented and suggested improvements and referred to other translations

Original Swedish
Till fots fick jag gå genom solsystemen

Till fots
fick jag gå genom solsystemen,
innan jag fann den första tråden av min röda dräkt.
Jag anar ren mig själv.
Någonstädes i rymden hänger mitt hjärta,
gnistor strömma ifrån det, skakande luften,
till andra måttlösa hjärtan.

and translation of the Norwegian blogger
On foot
my path wound through the solar systems,
until at last I found my red robe's first thread.
I already have a sense of who I am.
Somewhere in space my heart's suspended,
sparks flowing from it, quavering the air,
reaching out to other speechless hearts.

Among the comments and suggestions offered to the Norwegian blogger were:

Quote:
Here are a few more translations of this poem by Edith Södergran:
Quote:

by Stina Katchadourian:

On foot/ I had to walk through the solar systems,/before I found the first thread of my red dress./ Already I sense myself/ somewhere in space hangs my heart/ sparks fly from it/ shaking the air/ to other reckless hearts//

byDavid McDuff:

On foot/ I had to cross the solar system/ before I found the thread of my red dress/I sense myself already/ Somewhere in space hangs my heart/shaking the void, from it stream sparks/to other intemperate hearts


These improvements were incorporated in the translation claimed by CW:

I had to cross the solar system on foot
before I found the first thread of my red dress.
Already I am aware of myself.
Somewhere in space hangs my heart,
shaking the void, streaming sparks
to other reckless hearts.

. Scars Publications chapbook http://scars.tv .

In fact, CW, not knowing Swedish, has incorporated both correct and incorrect items

Till fots
fick jag gå genom solsystemen, (solsystemen is plural)
innan jag fann den första tråden av min röda dräkt. (What ES is referring to here IMO is that poetry is her red dress/garment, her red heart (hjärta) from which "sparks fly".
Jag anar ren mig själv. ("ren" is used here in the literary sense as "already" and is a show of hubris, ES is saying roughly "I know who I am, I know my worth".
till andra måttlösa hjärtan. ("måttlösa" means "without boundaries" or something that cannot be measured.

I also note that CW has not understood that "solsystemen" is plural (and were I translating it, I would prefer "galaxies").

Last edited by Janice D. Soderling; 01-21-2013 at 02:22 AM. Reason: font change for readability
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 01-15-2013, 12:15 PM
Janice D. Soderling's Avatar
Janice D. Soderling Janice D. Soderling is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 14,175
Default So who is this varmint, the deer rustler?

So then I started checking out who this CW person was and discovered that he was a student at a London college, seemingly talented and with lots of creds. I discovered that he had published under his own name translations from several languages.

But wait, he's 27 and he knows a handful of unrelated languages (Swedish, Croatian, French, German, Spanish) well enough to translate poetry?

Some Googling soon uncovered that the basics of his "translations" were easily found at a variety of blogs of the kind where the blogger was translating from his/her own language into English. The results weren't always good English or good poetry and the translations in the Scandinavian languages, at least, were not always accurate.

In some cases, I couldn't find the source, but I hit on the idea of finding the original poem (in French, German, Croatian, you name it) and doing a google translation and this fixing it up so it made sense. Hey, presto, CW is a genius translator.

His German translations that I traced are no longer online. They were removed by the editors of the zines where they appeared.

In one issue of Gloom Cupboard http://gloomcupboard.com/2009/03/01/82/ translations from Croatian, Swedish, and French—three totally unrelated languages appear under his name (Antun Branko Simic, Edith Södergran, Charles Baudelaire).

It transpired that CW had published "his translations" at Frostwriting as well (now removed). This was one of the instances of fixing up a google translation, easy to reconstruct how he went about it. Find the original poem, google-translate and fix up the English.

But there was a flaw in the master plan. If someone (CW) is not familiar with the language, he would not know that Google had chosen the wrong word from possible homonyms (such as fira which means both celebrate (the more commonly used word) and draw up [water from a well] (the correct translation).

Thus, in a Södergran translation:

fira vi upp vatten we celebrate the water
ur vår brunn för dig. from our well for you.

CW "celebrates" water that rightfully should have been "drawn up". Anyone familiar with the language would not make that mistake. But CW doesn't know when it makes sense and when it doesn't. A "Tonto-speak translation" (see below) from the Spanish of Amado Nervo also at Gloom Cupboard.

Original Spanish

Alba en sonrojos
tu faz parece:
¡no abras los ojos,
porque anochece!
Cierra -si enojos
la luz te ofrece-
los labios rojos,
¡porque amanece!
Sombra en derroches,
luz: ¡sois bien mías!
Ojos oscuros:
¡muy buenas noches!
Labios maduros:
¡muy buenos días

Google trans.

Alba in charming
your face looks like:
do not open your eyes,
because it gets dark!

Close - if anger
the light gives you-
red lips,
because the sun rises!

Shadow in wastage,
light: you are well mine!

Dark eyes:
very good night!
Mature lips:
very good morning

Ward translation
Sonnet
by Amado Nervo
Your face seems
to blush at dawn:
Do not open your eyes,
because it is dark!
Close – if the light
offends you-
red lips,
because it is sunrise!
Waste in shadow,
light: you are still mine!
Dark Eyes:
very good night!
Mature lips:
very good morning!

Pls note that I am not dissing Gloom Cupboard or any other editor who has been fooled. I have been published by several of the journals and zines myself and regard all the editors as thoroughly reputable. But while print magazines continue to be difficult to cover, any online publication is easy to double-check. The very least an editor should do is to ask for credentials.

Here is another example of a Södergran poem CW claims to have translated:
http://www.typomag.com/issue07/sodergran.html

MY ARTIFICIAL FLOWERS (Johannes Göransson)
My artificial flowers
I send them to you.
My small bronze lions
I set up at your door.
I myself sit down on the steps --
a lost oriental pearl
in the big city’s noisy sea.


My Artificial Flowers (Ward)
I sent my artificial
flowers to you.
I set my small bronze
lion up on your door.
I sat myself down on the steps –
an oriental pearl lost
in the big city’s noisy sea.

The glance at the Swedish original below indicates that Johannes Göransson understands Swedish, but Ward does not.

[sander jag = I send ] (JG I send) / (CW I sent)

[mina små bronslejon = my small bronze lions (plural)] (JG my small bronze lions) / (CW my small bronze lion) Note that "lejon" is both singular and plural in Swedish but "mina" indicates that the plural is intended.

This is a reference to the custom of having a pair of cast bronze lions set up outside the entrance of a mansion. JG has understood this and used "at". CW has not, he seems to think the reference is to a brass knocker formed like a lion head so he adjusted the language to fit what he thinks sounds better "singular lion" + "on your door". It makes sense if you can't understand the Swedish

Also though JGs English is shaky, he has correctly understood "Själv sitter jag nere" while CW has not. I'm guessing that JGs native language is not Swedish, not English.


Here is the Swedish original.


Mina Konstgjorda Blommor
Mina konstgjorda blommor
sänder jag hem till dig.
Mina små bronslejon
ställer jag upp vid din dörr
Själv sitter jag nere på trappan--
en borttappad österländs pärla
i storstadens brusande hav.


It would seem that if an editor doesn't know the language and doesn't have resources to double check the quality, it has sufficed to see that other magazines have published CWs work. Once he tucked a few creds under his belt, it's been all downhill for him. IMO, editors should not print translations unless they have proof that the translator is familiar with the language and has some kind of verifiable poetry creds or formal education.

(more to come)

Last edited by Janice D. Soderling; 01-21-2013 at 02:23 AM. Reason: fixing minor typos
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 01-15-2013, 12:33 PM
Janice D. Soderling's Avatar
Janice D. Soderling Janice D. Soderling is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 14,175
Default

I'd like CW to prove that he has sufficient mastery of Swedish, French, Croatian and Spanish (not to mention the now-disappeared German translations) to warrant publishing translations under his own name.

Among the sites (all reputable ones) that have published CWs "translations" are

http://www.ezratranslation.com/uploads/Ezra_SP10_ARCH.pdf
http://www.cerisepress.com/01/02/yo-vengo-de-un-brumoso-pais-lejano-i-come-from-a-distant-misty-country
http://elimae.com/2009/02/Stars.html
http://www.wheelhousemagazine.com/archive/summer_autumn09/starry_night.html

Also the print journal Modern Poetry in Translation (I am aware of this one because I happen to subscribe to MPT, but I've no idea what other print journals have published CW translations.).

I didn't confront CW when this happened. I figured that sooner or later he would goof up. And he did.

And indeed, I would not go public with this information now, were it not that he is making such a big to-do on various sites about being an innocent victim who just happened to make a mistake. http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Poet-Christian-Ward-says-m-sorry-prize-winning/story-17838451-detail/story.html and elsewhere.


Quote:
Statement from Christian Ward:
I read with interest the article printed in the Western Morning News on Saturday 5th January concerning allegations of plagiarism in the Exmoor Society’s Hope Bourne competition. I would like to offer my side of the story and clear things up.

On 21st December 2012, the Exmoor Society sent me a letter informing me that my poem The Deer at Exmoor [which won the 2011 Hope Bourne Prize] was “remarkably similar” to Helen Mort’s The Deer. It was before Christmas so I was unable to respond straight away.

I expected this to be a straightforward matter to be resolved internally by the society and was not expecting an article to even be written. Some of the quotes took me by surprise. I was disgusted, in particular, by James Crowden’s comment that I be put in the stocks and suffer something even worse.

On to my side: I was working on a poem about my childhood experiences in Exmoor and was careless. I used Helen Mort’s poem as a model for my own but rushed and ended up submitting a draft that wasn’t entirely my own work.
I had no intention of deliberately plagiarising her work. That is the truth.

I am sorry this has happened and am making amends. This incident is all my fault and I fully accept the consequences of my actions. I apologise to the Exmoor Society, Helen Mort, the poetry community and to the readers of the WMN.

Furthermore, I have begun to examine my published poems to make sure there are no similar mistakes. I want to be as honest as I can with the poetry community and I know it will take some time to regain their trust. Already I have discovered a 2009 poem called The Neighbour is very similar to Tim Dooley’s After Neruda and admit that a mistake has been made. I am still digging and want a fresh start.

I am deeply sorry and look forward to regaining your trust in me.


But all is not lost. If he is shunned by editors in the future, he may have a glorious future in politics.


Rule number one: IF you copy someone else's work into your computer or your paper files, label them, viz THIS IS NOT MY WORK. IT IS THE BRILLIANT WORK OF Helen Mort (or whoever). Accidents DO happen, but they don't happen repeatedly as shown in this scrutinizing of CWs modus operandi.

I may be wrong but I am disinclined to believe that he "accidentally" misappropriated Helen Mort's poem AND Tim Dooley's AND my translation AND at Anon AND Paisley A's poem OR that he is repentant.

A pity, for I believe that he is not entirely lacking in talent or he wouldn't have completed an MFA.

He seems big on initiative but short on smarts.

Last edited by Janice D. Soderling; 01-21-2013 at 02:23 AM. Reason: Readability (missing line spaces etc.)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 01-15-2013, 01:08 PM
Janice D. Soderling's Avatar
Janice D. Soderling Janice D. Soderling is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 14,175
Default

Here is another victim of this forgetful twerp which I just discovered.

http://paisleyrekdal.blogspot.se/201...=1358273227715

What's that old saw about crocodile tears?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 01-15-2013, 01:41 PM
Ed Shacklee's Avatar
Ed Shacklee Ed Shacklee is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Takoma Park, MD
Posts: 3,704
Default

A fine bit of detective work, Janice. I wish it hadn't been needed, and I'm sorry to hear you, too, were one of his victims.

Perhaps there's some innocent explanation for all this. If so -- and I have to say, I have my doubts -- it might start with apparent lack of motive: in such an obscure art as poetry, what is there to gain from this? It's like being caught red-handed breaking into an almost empty bank vault. But if they handed out million dollar bills for every poem accepted, that would still be no excuse.

Best,

Ed
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Unread 01-15-2013, 01:59 PM
Janice D. Soderling's Avatar
Janice D. Soderling Janice D. Soderling is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 14,175
Default

Probably NO ONE here will be able to read through all of this. But because this jerk is denying intent to defraud despite one piece of evidence after another keeps rolling in, I think it is important to document it.

I thought at first to put it in Eratosphericals, but his name and face and whines are all over the Internet today, so it might as well be here.

But should any mod want to move it, varsågod, which is Swedish for Je vous en prie !
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Unread 01-15-2013, 02:29 PM
Charlotte Innes Charlotte Innes is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3,259
Default

VERY important to document, Janice, and tell editors! Good for you for getting the word out. And I'm sorry about your brush with this fellow.

My ex-husband, a classicist, was plagiarized several times back in the 1980s. The person who took his work was just compulsive, it seems--couldn't stop himself.

If one doesn't tell editors, such people just go on and on....

Charlotte
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Unread 01-15-2013, 03:45 PM
Janice D. Soderling's Avatar
Janice D. Soderling Janice D. Soderling is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 14,175
Default

All the editors in the UK know it by now. Probably most in the US and elsewhere as well.

I saw on another site that Anon has removed one of his poems as it was a plagarism of an American poet.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Unread 01-15-2013, 04:21 PM
Rosemary Badcoe Rosemary Badcoe is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 47
Default

So sorry to hear you've been involved in all this too, Janice. Antiphon has a blog now, and I wrote a brief post about this. Most of the major national newspapers have picked it up in a minor way, too. One of the most astounding things is his (first comment here) response to the article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013...ner-plagiarist

Rosemary

edit: I hope you're happy with me linking to this thread, as it's public; it seems important to me that other editors are made aware of the possible behaviour of some submitters.

Last edited by Rosemary Badcoe; 01-15-2013 at 04:47 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,139
Total Threads: 20,303
Total Posts: 257,907
There are 159 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online