I have been reading Seamus Heaney of course but also Matt Welton’s books and going back to read aloud Kei Miller’s A Light Song of Light to my daughter.

If you haven’t seen Matt Welton’s blog on the Carcanet site then go and have a read of his careful and humble article about the plagiarism issue. Well said, I thought.

I adjudicated a competition a couple of years ago in the course of which I received a poem which stood out from the other entries and made my long and then shortlist and then final few until I discarded it as seeming vaguely familiar. I thought it reminded me of Paul Farley….I looked through the Paul Farley I had on my shelves but thought I must be getting muddled at having read so many – about 700 – poems. The competition was judged anonymously. It turned out my winners were Anne Stewart and Wendy Klein. At the prize giving evening I asked the organisers who had been the poet of poem number whatever it was ….and guess who ? I didn’t know the name at the time and I was not and am not well read enough to form a view but the feeling of having read this before was significant enough for me to have remembered the name.

There’s no excuse for stealing but I wonder do workshops, the dreaded workshops, make this worse ? Did anyone ever write a real poem in a workshop ?

American Shadow manuscript image

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