Stolen poetry…..

Sunset in a Violent Sky, copyrighted, 2007, janekohut-bartels, watercolor...this painting was copied by a person and enlarged without permission to hang on their

Recently, I received news  a poem of mine had been ‘stolen’.  Actually, a poet on an unknown poetry website had taken my poem, changed the title and a few lines in two stanzas, and published my poem on this website under her name.  What was especially galling was she  is no poet, and her revisions were horrible, awkward…an attempt to make something ‘more’  erotic by  adding cheap and tawdry phrases.   Confronted, she said that ‘she was inspired’ by other poet’s work.  The webmistress contacted me and asked if this was my poem.  I was surprised, because I didn’t know without the proper title how one would go about tracking the original poet.  Apparently, she had her suspicions, and googled the first couple of lines and my name and website came up.  She was deleted from this  unknown website.

I was dismayed.  Poetry generally comes from some of the deepest places in our beings: it’s an outward form of some very personal experience, or something like that.  This poem was written in 2008, at a difficult time in my life.  I was going through some physical and emotional changes and a year later, it received an award, (up until now, the only one….) as “Poem of the Year” on a particular website.  I had left that website, but was grateful for the award.

This ‘news’ about the plagiarized poetry came at a point when I was reading a chapter about creativity.  In Fox’s “Original Blessing”, this third path, Via Creativa, speaks of the hard labor necessary to produce artistic works, regardless of the medium.  It is not an activity of ‘letting it all hang out’ as we have been told by certain cultural ‘standards’ but one of a deep discipline.  To attempt to bypass this hard labor is not only stupid,  but robs the person of a deep meditation with oneself and a growth from this activity.  It is also hard to trust those images that come to us at the beginning of our creativity.  We are very judgmental towards our attitudes of our own self-expression.  We have to develop an attitude of trust, a trust that out of our silence, our waiting, our openness, our emptiness… these images can come.  I do know after 30 years of painting, each blank canvas, each clean piece of watercolor paper sends me into anxiety.  I don’t ‘trust’  I can again, produce something coming from the relay from the brain, through the eyes to the hand.  I forget I have 30 years of technique behind my painting, and feel like I have nothing to build upon for the next piece of work.  But I do, I just don’t trust myself.  It takes my ‘letting go’ of  judgmental attitudes  towards myself, towards my expectations, and settling down into the work and trusting  ‘something’ will come of it.  But it still is always a struggle to trust myself to be able to do something in this creative vein.

One of the problems for most creative people is to pick the image that sings loudest to us.  Perhaps because we fail to choose the strongest image, we give up creating anything.  The (dead) Zen artist Kenji Miyazawa said this about that:

“You experience something deeply. Later, you picture it in your own mind; you idealize it; you cooly and sharply analyze it; you throw all your passion and power into it. Then you fuse all these things together into one.  If you do this without self-consciousness, the depth and the power of creation will be much greater.”

In music, I have come across this ‘without self-consciousness’ terms as ‘getting out of the way’.

Somewhere Meister Eckhart talked about the ‘bridle of love’ that we need to steer our passions.  Not to control or abuse them, but to make them work for us.  This is discipline, done respectfully towards ourselves, for our developing and revealing creativity.  We suffer enough abuse, by ourselves and society, so adopting an environment of hard work, of sweat, of exhaustion, of joy and of discipline will only push our creativity further along.  This poor poet who didn’t trust herself enough to settle, look deeply within and create, is more to be pitied than  scorned, but perhaps put in stocks???  She stole other poet’s poetry because she did not love or honor herself.  Hopefully she will learn to love herself enough to become truly creative. Hopefully, she will not rob herself of this wonderful process.

The small poem below was inspired by these words of Daichi-zenji (1290-1366) “and bring back a pitcher containing the moon’.  Just those words set my brain on fire.  There is nothing wrong with ‘being inspired’ by the work and words of another poet: just be sure that inspiration is true to your own vision and abilities and you are not putting your chop on the work of another.

Lady Nyo


Pitcher of Moon

I dip into the pond

And gather a pitcher of moon.

Above, it glimmers

Smiles at my efforts,

This late- winter moon.

It is just a bowl of cool water

I am holding

But the magic of the cosmos settles

In this plain clay vessel.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012

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13 Responses to “Stolen poetry…..”

  1. johnallenrichter Says:

    Lady Nyo, criminals exist, and they don’t care….. I like to think of myself as completely altruistic, (though I certainly fall way short of that.) If my words are ever stolen, I think I will console myself with the idea that the thief is merely providing an extra opportunity for others to see my words…. which is why I wrote them. But I am truly, truly sorry for what happened to you. My first time being burgled I felt as though I had been raped. Then I was robbed later, and assaulted many times, bitten, and have had two very sincere attempts to take my life…. I no longer feel raped when somebody commits a crime against me… I just get mad. If I can’t console you with any other words, I hope you understand thaty it is perfectly ok, and quite natural, to just be completely pissed right now…..


  2. Pat Hatt Says:

    Yeah stinkin’ thieves. I reiterate what I said at dVerse. Make it so they once more lose an appendage if they steal and there will be a lot less of it..haha


  3. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Pat,
    well, they do respond to amputation…..rather harsh, though. The only solution is to hope and support anti-thief legislation, i guess.

    frankly, I don’t find this crime at all flattering. It’ as pain in the……

    Thanks, Pat.



  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hey John….I believe what just happened to me…this thievery by a ‘poet’ on is a very minor issue, compared to what others have suffered. It’s just that this poet was so baddddddd in her revision of “The River”…which i should post again….LOL!

    Yes, you are right….IF they present the poem in the original form…but when they mutilate it???/ Nah, off with their heads! Or hands, as Pat suggests.

    Bitten??? Hopefully by a dog or cat and not a nasty human. That is the worse wound I have been told.

    As for being burgled…..hasn’t happened yet here at “Clach Mhullinn” (Gaelic for “Millstone Around The Neck”….but that is because of a fence, two large dogs, two shotguns somewhere in the house….and a bunch of cats…some who will charge the iron fence when people pass.

    Just brought home a new puppy from Animal Control this afternoon. She just was spayed, but it’s not slowing her down at all. She is a mix of Chocolate Lab and Pointer…beautiful little girl, named Daphne…who is howling in the laundry room for no good reason right now. A pretty girl who will join the barbarians at the gate in time.

    Pix soon to come….

    And your words do console me, John. I am pissed about the poem… but I’ll get over it. It’s just that she cheapened the poem by her revision.

    Thanks, John.

    Lady Nyo


  5. Heaven Says:

    I am sorry this happened to you. I too am inspired by other writers and poets, but I use my own words. And indeed, now that I am writing, I can appreciate the hard work and creative skills that goes into the published work.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and more power to you ~


  6. kolembo Says:

    Oooo, it’s gorgeous, just gorgeous. Very delicate, very little, very full. Blow at it, and it will tear. It’s beautiful. You write really well.


  7. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Kolembo!!! You are the first to even see the poem “Pitcher of Moon”….LOLL~~~

    I like it too. Actually, I am studying Japanese and my word placement, sentence structures are beginning to sound a bit Japanese….LOL! At least I hope so.

    Thank you so much, Kolembo for reading and your very lovely comment…and for acknowledging the poem!

    Lady Nyo


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Heaven. You are a very original poet..and it shows.



  9. Dulce Tisor Says:

    You are my aspiration, I possess few web logs and sometimes run out from post :). “No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.” by W. H. Auden.


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Dulce Tisor…..I love this….about opera! And Auden.

    thank you!

    Lady Nyo


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