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A Canadian Poet Laureate Appears To Have Plagiarized Tupac

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Pierre DesRuisseaux served as Parliamentary Poet Laureate from 2009 to 2011. He died in 2016.

His 2013 book of French poetry, Tranche de vie, includes numerous examples of uncredited borrowing from other writers, according to Ira Lightman, a British poet who has outed several high-profile plagiarists.

Lightman alerted DesRuisseaux’s Montreal-based publisher last year, but he only went public with his investigation in a recent Guardian profile.

Lightman found 30 different poems in Tranche de vie that had unaccredited sources, including Angelou’s famous “Still I Rise” and Tupac’s “Sometimes I Cry.”

“My first reaction was very much, ‘This must be an uncredited translation,'” Lightman told BuzzFeed Canada.

Lightman said many poets translate other writers and include that work in anthologies, often specifically to “muck around with big names” in creative ways.

“The odd thing is to muck around with big names and not credit it,” he said. “And then the odd thing about Pierre DesRouisseaux’s book is that … he’s also picking from really minor, odd amateur poets.”

In his investigation of DesRouisseaux’s book, Lightman found one particularly strange example. The former poet laureate had apparently plagiarized the work of a teenager who posted on allpoetry.com, whose poems include “My Xbox” and “My Five Kitty Cats.”

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