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  #1  
Unread 11-15-2021, 10:16 PM
Allen Tice's Avatar
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Default When is an homage not a “steal“?

We here who live on poetry and gnaw computers or eat paper know that the really big bucks are readercoin, not cryptocash or even negotiable huge royalties, quite important as those are. In the music world, a performer who uses another’s signature melody when it is still in copyright must pay buckets of ducats to the copyright holder for the honor of “covering” something great. Out of copyright? Listen to “Kismet,” a superb musical whose songs are just about all lifted from the music of the Russian chemist Alexander Borodin. Not to be elitist, but Borodin is beluga caviar and “Kismet” is heavenly munchies. Both are wizard good.

What happens if writer A takes a brilliant signature image from writer B and slides it into something? Does that diminish B or rather create a bridge to be found by the great connoisseurs? Much depends on how good A is. If A is any good, it gives B a further life and deeper interest; if A is mediocre, it elevates B by comparison. B cannot lose.

For example, Shakespeare does not suffer by imitation, whether good or bad. He can only gain. Shakespeare remains terrific. Ditto Elizabeth Browning or Auden.

Imitation is an unforgiving test or a love feast of a sort.

Who would I or you want to gently imitate, even for five great words? My first choice would the equivalent of something extraordinary by say, Richard Wilbur, or the entire theme of a poem by John Updike about bottled sparkling water. Anyway, has anyone yielded to this temptation or has something so good in mind it makes you swoon? What would that be?
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Unread 11-16-2021, 04:32 AM
Joe Crocker Joe Crocker is offline
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Leonard Cohen’s Alexandra leaving led me to Cavafy’s The God Abandons Antony and to Ithaka.
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  #3  
Unread 11-16-2021, 10:27 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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My teacher Willis Barnstone kept mentioning and exhibiting that Cavafy in translation. In order for an actual intertextual relationship to appear advantageously, both items should be easily available in a permanent form like a book. (If B writes an officially unpublished poem about shoelaces and A does something parallel yet mocking about shoehorns and runs with it, it’s very close to a steal—though, depending on B’s verve, it could be either an homage or nearly simultaneous creation, and only the Good Lord knows which.)

Once I sent what I thought was a nice little thing to a venue I will call The Freckled Vegetable. It was rejected, but promptly a variant by one of the Vegetable’s stable of tame poets appeared. I suppose it was meant as an homage...

Anyway, I’d use “To Bee or Not to Bee” any day of the week if it was apt.
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Unread 11-16-2021, 02:08 PM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Not sure if I'm leading this thread off-track but pragmatically as a 'go-to' guide, I find the Center for Media and Social Impact's 'Guide to best practice in poetry' an invaluable resource, although it's worth noting that the UK is far stricter in its copyright regulations (so be careful if you're publishing in the UK, US poets).

Intellectual property is interesting and complex, particularly with the introduction of creative commons licenses, although I don't think they're widely used in poetry the same way they are in open source software/images etc.

But it's a fluid landscape, attribution. And maybe underpinned by academic ethics (of referencing and the like) but then there are the arts-as-resistance ideologies that come into it too.

And then there is docupoetics, which is something different again (and which personally I'm really interested in but don't have enough time to properly read around at the moment.

I have to admit to a grave curiosity as to which publication 'The Freckled Vegetable' was. I will spend my evening thinking about bananas.

Anyway, I think the original question was 'does borrowing diminish', to which my answer would be that it's relative and dependent on both reader and writer and context. Are great paintings diminished when they're reproduced on a tote bag?

Sarah-Jane
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  #5  
Unread 11-16-2021, 05:02 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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S-J, it would be unkind to reveal what The Freckled Vegetable might be. No bananas. You have nineteen more guesses before you get the irrevocable Extraordinary Wiggling Hake badge affixed and go to gaol for 30 seconds.

Moving on…
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Unread 11-16-2021, 06:07 PM
Jack Land Jack Land is offline
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Deleted Tuesday November 30

Last edited by Jack Land; 11-30-2021 at 05:29 AM. Reason: 3rd edit Friday Nov 19
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  #7  
Unread 11-16-2021, 07:15 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Hello Jack, You have posted “Rye” in the wrong forum. I suggest that you delete your post here using the Edit Post button at screen bottom on the right, and replace your post with brief explanatory apology, and it repost it in its entirety in Metrical or Nonmetrical and expect industrial strength critiques. This is not a critique forum. I will then alter this post you are reading accordingly. Best of luck.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 11-17-2021 at 02:26 PM.
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Unread 11-17-2021, 01:08 PM
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Rescinded post.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 11-17-2021 at 02:25 PM.
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  #9  
Unread 11-17-2021, 01:20 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is online now
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There's a millennia-long tradition of poets riffing on other poets' poems. If the source poem isn't obvious, generally an acknowledgement like "After Lickspittle" or "After Lickspittle's 'Earwax Ode'" is expected.

With or without attribution, there is general frowning upon artists who fail to transform borrowed material into something uniquely new. It's sort of like on the cooking show Chopped, when a competitor gets scolded by the judges for just plopping some of the four required ingredients on the plate pretty much in the same form as when they were received, instead of doing something creative with each of the four.

Of course, when the rules of a competition are broken, there are judges to make sure cheaters don't prosper. In the poetry community, there's so little prospering anyway, and so many fewer people watching, that it's easier to get away with shortcuts, and those who feel wronged generally try to deputize a judge-jury-and-executioner social media posse. If that's where this thread is headed, I have other things to do.
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  #10  
Unread 11-17-2021, 01:29 PM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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I think Jack Land's point is whether this piece of prose about rye by another author, not intended as poetry, is either homage or theft when he breaks it into lineated verse. Allen I'm struggling to fully comprehend your anger over his posting.

Last edited by W T Clark; 11-17-2021 at 02:36 PM.
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