You pushed Grace hard so you could have your book.
She did the layout, made the pdf.
I bought the thing so I could take a look
but, when I read it, I found blatant theft.

You’d stolen poems from anthologies
of poets who had won the Nobel Prize.
You plagiarized without apologies.
And, while some maintain you didn’t realize

presenting work you didn’t write as yours
is theft, I say you knew it all along.
You stole whole poems—not just metaphors—
and came to writing groups in order to belong

to something that would mask your emptiness,
conceal your heart and innermost distress.


Herb Guggenheim was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is the author of two books of poetry Sunset at the Hotel Mira Mar (Infinity Publishing, 2011) and Strange Encounter at the Shakespeare Motel (Finishing Line Press, 2017). His poems have appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry Quarterly, The Florida Review, and many other magazines both on- and offline. He’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net Award. Last year, his poem “Poet” placed fifth in the rhymed poetry category of the Writer’s Digest annual writing competition. It appears in the spring 2018 issue of The Road Not Taken: The Journal of Formal Poetry. His novel Violations of Causality was a finalist in the 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year competition.

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13 Responses

    • Herb Guggenheim

      Thanks, Leo. Saying my poem is well-made is a big compliment.

  1. E. V.

    To have one’s work plagiarized is a writer’s nightmare; to be properly cited is a compliment. Thank you for sharing the poem.

  2. James A. Tweedie

    There is also the old adage, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

    • James A. Tweedie

      Sorry, couldn’t resist.

      By the way, a well-constructed poem. As a bonus, I always enjoy a verse that tells a story.

  3. David Watt

    Plagiarism is not often chosen as a theme for poetry, and this makes ‘Plagiarist’ stand out. However, even without the benefit of distinctive theme, the composition is a ‘stand out.’


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