#NaPoWriMo 2018 Day Nineteen

Most of the trees in our park have a base trunk and then fork off into two separate trunks, making a V pattern that is easy for a child to straddle. After Rachael pointed out the horse to me, I realized that was what she wanted to do. I stood there in total bewilderment as to how her little mind saw this tree as a horse.
Carousel  Veronica Hosking 2003


Little mind saw
V pattern
trees in our park
then fork
the horse
tree as a horse

NaPoWriMo Prompt – Our (optional) prompt for the day takes it cue from Brady’s suggestion that erasure/word banks can allow for compelling repetitive effects. Today we challenge you to write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem.

Good Morning! And Welcome to day nineteen of #NaPoWriMo. Where I figured why reinvent the wheel and copied a paragraph from my first published story. Not sure about what I chose to erase or my arrangement into a poem, but it was an experiment. After work today, Gretchen requested help with her Eng 102 assignment; I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for poetry. I figured I should attempt something now.

Write a paragraph
Create erasure poem
Involves striking words

See tree as a horse
Involves imagination
Child’s wonderful mind


Guest Blogger – Jeanne Gassman

It’s October 30th! Can you believe the platform challenge is almost done. Then PAD (poem a day) in November will begin. Today’s task is to go off and write, but first I’d like to introduce a first to this blog – a guest blogger. Jeanne Gassman shared a video about plagiarism in poetry I found interesting. I asked her if she would be interested in writing about plagiarism for my blog. She agreed. Thank you, Jeanne, for expounding on this topic. I’ve played with erasure poems. It’s good to know how to properly credit poetic inspiration.


When Veronica asked me to write a guest post about plagiarism, she tapped into a topic that stirs my ire. As a published writer, I’ve been a victim of plagiarism, and it’s both frustrating and agonizing. Your words, your story, your carefully crafted poem, your creation, is stolen and claimed by a stranger (or a very duplicitous friend). Alas, the problem has become rampant with the Internet, as it’s so easy to cut and paste. In fact, many plagiarizers often claim since the work was posted on the Internet, it was available for free.

As an English and Creative Writing instructor at a local community college, I encountered at least one instance of plagiarism every semester. I had students who plagiarized entire papers, never changing a single word from the original document. I had a student who wanted to become an English teacher plagiarize from Wikipedia. I had an honors student plagiarize her project from multiple documents, saying she suffered from carpel tunnel syndrome so she had to cut and paste because she was in too much pain to type! Plagiarism was such a huge problem that I created a lecture and PowerPoint to define plagiarism and outline the consequences. When students were caught (and I always caught them), they seldom expressed remorse.

So, what is plagiarism anyway, and why should we care?

I’ll start by sharing a couple of the examples I gave to my students. These are taken from the article, “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age,” The New York Times, by Trip Gabriel, Aug. 1, 2010 (Note the attribution!):

At Rhode Island College, a freshman copied and pasted from a Web site’s frequently asked questions page about homelessness—and did not think he needed to credit a source in his assignment because the page did not include author information.

And at the University of Maryland, a student reprimanded for copying from Wikipedia in a paper on the Great Depression said he thought its entries—unsigned and collectively written—did not need to be credited since they counted, essentially, as common knowledge.

Simply defined, plagiarism is using the work of another without providing proper attribution. When you use another person’s words, text, or images without acknowledging the source, you are committing plagiarism.

Why should we care about plagiarism? At the very least, plagiarism is unethical; at its worst, it is the theft of intellectual property and a violation of copyright. Egregious acts of plagiarism of popular or famous works have resulted in lawsuits. Plagiarism is also lazy. It is a way of saying you feel your own creative work is less valuable or worthy than someone else’s.

Poets often write poems inspired by the work of another. Is it plagiarism to write a poem using lines or quotes from another work? Again, it is about acknowledging your source. If you write a poem based on another’s person’s work, be sure to acknowledge the original author. This can be done with the title of the poem itself or in a footnote or author’s note. Give credit where credit is due.

What about erasure poetry, poems created by erasing the original text of another document? Your best choice is to show the original document alongside the poem you have created. This also provides a nice showcase for your imagination and creativity, as the reader can see the process of creating the poem. When in doubt, provide attribution.

What should I do if I discover my work has been plagiarized? Contact the publisher and/or editor and let them know the work was stolen. They should provide proper credit or remove the plagiarized piece. If they do nothing, your best recourse is to make the writing world aware of the theft. The writing and publishing community is very small, and reputation means everything.

How can I find out if my work is plagiarized? Google is your friend. Periodically, Google key phrases from your writing, story or poem titles, your name, snippets of text, etc. Talkwalker is another great resource for searching for plagiarized phrases or text. You can create “alerts” to notify you whenever your selected examples appear on the Internet. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to locate plagiarized works in print.

I want to do the right thing, but… Remember, most plagiarizers do so with intent. They are fully aware they are stealing, but if you feel you are crossing into a gray area of use or “borrowing,” err on the ethical side and properly acknowledge your source. As artists and writers, we all have an obligation to practice good literary citizenship.

JEANNE LYET GASSMAN lives in Arizona where the desert landscape inspires much of her fiction. She holds an MFA in Writ­ing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has received fellow­ships from Ragdale and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. In addition to writing, Jeanne teaches creative writing workshops in the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area. Her work has appeared in Hippocampus,Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Red Savina Review, The Museum of Americana, Assisi: An Online Journal of Arts & Letters, Switchback, Literary Mama, and Barrelhouse, among many others. Her debut novel, Blood of a Stone, received a 2015 Independent Publisher Book Award in the national category of religious fiction and was a finalist for the 2015 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards. Find Jeanne online at: http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com

NaPoWriMo Day 21

Blurred Reality

Two kinds of pills

yellow pills

shoved away hurt                                            left the mind on
blue ones
time was sheared away

Stuff dances

dancing memories

uninvited dancing stuff tickled

sashayed                  darted                    plunged
shook loose
blue                                                                                      black

Winter's Bone by: Daniel Woodrell p. 162

Winter’s Bone by: Daniel Woodrell p. 162

NaPoWriMo Prompt – Our prompt for today (optional, as always) is an old favorite – the erasure! This involves taking a pre-existing text and blacking out or erasing words, while leaving the placement of the remaining words intact. 

I don’t play well with photoshop and it looks like I was trying to erase too hard. On the plus side it gave me an excellent title. Only nine days remain of this insanity. And then summer break officially begins in a month on May 21st. Gretchen’s graduation ceremony is at 10:30 am that day. Rachael is registered for a summer class and I still have to figure out vacation plans. Meanwhile the NHS induction ceremony is on Thursday; Rachael will be filling up volunteer hours this weekend; and at some point the middle school will have its science fair and spring concert. Maybe I’ll be able to catch my breath in June.

NapoWriMo Day 9

p.103 Stardust by: Neil Gaiman

p.103 Stardust by: Neil Gaiman

Glittering Dust

lump of mud
the star, the girl
a numbskull, a coxcomb
unwound silver chain and slipped it
around girl’s slim wrist
stared up beyond outrage
Taking you home
violently wick afloat
the candle flame flared
illuminating the girl
chain unbreakable
the candle went out

NaPoWriMo Prompt – Our prompt for the day (optional, as always) plays of our resources. Today, I challenge you to write a visual poem. If that’s not specific enough, perhaps you can try your hand at a calligram? That’s a poem or other text in which the words are arranged into a specific shape or image. You might find inspiration in the famous calligrams written by Guillaume Apollinaire. And a word to the wise — the best way to cope with today’s exercise may well be to abandon your keyboard, and sit down with paper and pen (and maybe crayons or colored pencils or markers!)

Did someone say color? I can do this. An erasure poem from p. 103 Stardust by: Neil Gaiman. I tried getting the words off the page in the shape of a star, but I couldn’t seem to get the formatting to work. As it looks now, it reminds me of a keyhole.

Erasure Poem

Richard’s death

r             i            p
Death masks

personal                              tunnel
eyes                                             mask
man                                                         death
ceremonial interments
died                                                              grave robbers

Richard's death erasure poem gravestone

Richard’s death erasure poem gravestone