Last week JP at Olive Garden took (without permission) three works of mine and posted them on their site. What was especially alarming was two women, a Kora Davishen and a Henryetta Simpody on that site ‘revised’ an award winning and well published poem “Storm Drain Baby”. The ‘revision’ was monstrous. Words in the original poem were randomly changed without any context, and the end result was …..a gutting of an important poem. I asked them through comments (which they deleted) and by email to immediately delete my poems and blog and they have refused to do so. They continue to post my blog on their main page. This site, as I have been told by numerous other poets and poetry groups, has a history of this display of illegal and unethical behavior. They troll the internet and steal and post without permission. However, this ‘revising’ of copyrighted work is a new low…or maybe not so new for them. This site is a pariah amongst poetry groups. An attorney was consulted. Copyright infringement is serious business. Illegal, too.
LET THIS POST APPEAR ON THEIR SITE. They deserve the exposure for what they really are: Opportunists, Craven Cowards who leech off the hard work of real poets. I was warned years ago by trusted poets about their behavior and I have stayed far away from them. As have other real poets. They steal poetry and blogs to pad out their miserable site, to make it look like they have more ‘contributors’ than they really have. JP at Olive Garden and Gooseberrygoespoetic.com have no ethics, except bad ones. They are pathetic thieves who don’t have the intelligence to do right.
A few years ago I received news another poem of mine had been ‘stolen’. Actually, a poet on an unknown poetry website (to me) 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 this: she was no poet, and her revisions were horrible, awkward (shades of the two bozos at Olive Garden)…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. This thief was banned from that website.
I am dismayed by these thieves. Poetry generally comes from some of the deepest places in our beings: it’s an outward form of some very personal experience, or something similar. This poem was written 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 growth from this activity. It is 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 that out of our silence, our waiting, our openness, our emptiness…that these images can come. I do know that after 30 years of painting, each blank canvas, each clean piece of watercolor paper sends me into fits. I don’t ‘trust’ that I can, again, produce something that comes from that relay from the brain, through the eyes to the hand. I forget that 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 my judgmental attitude towards myself, towards my expectations, and settling down into the work and knowing that ‘something’ will come of it. But it’s always a struggle to trust myself.
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 coolly 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.
And the same perhaps for the two JP idiots on top? But I doubt it. They are too stupid to understand the full measure of what they do.
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.
Copyrighted, September 1, 2016
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.
Copyrighted, 2012, from “Pitcher of Moon” by the author, Amazon.com 2014