Creative Writing in Canada

Short Story Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Flash Fiction, Essays and samples to assist in your literary endeavours.

Creative Writing Prose

Creative Plagiarism by Wayne Ray

Creative Plagiarism 
To steal the language, ideas or thoughts from another, representing them as ones own original work. (Random House Dictionary, 1980) 

Text discovered in some non-poetic setting, removed from its context, and presented as a poem. (The Poetry Dictionary, 1995)
Everyone has plagiarized in one form or another at some time in their past. They have picked up and used a word or phrase from a song or story or movie and stored that word or phrase in the back of their mind and invariably slipped it into a poem or song or piece of prose. 
	Most of what we have read has been written or thought of long before we were born. Writers have borrowed ideas from one another for as long as ink has passed over paper (or velum). While true plagiarism is wrong (claiming entire pieces of another s work as your own), borrowing an idea or phrase that you find interesting or important can be as good as a compliment to a writer (whether they in turn, borrowed it or not). This can be categorized to some as Writer s License or as it is called here . . . Creative Plagiarism. 
	The first form of Creative Plagiarism that will be discussed is one that has been growing in popularity over the past few years. This writing form is known as the Found Poem. Found poetry can be created from any existing written material or conversation. While the original material should still be credited to the original author, the changed form and not the actual words become your credit or authorship. Original material can be obtained from graffiti, speeches, lists, conversations, stories, books, etc. 
	This author's first attempt at Found poetry first occurred in 1974. While working as the Assistant Foreman for Metro Toronto Parks Department at James Gardens in Etobicoke during the spring cleanup of the Monument Garden a large piece of paper was discovered with parts of a letter and other scribbling on it. It was wedged in the slats of a park bench and contained the rambling and thoughts written to a girl named Judy from a young man named. The letter was filed away for ten years when this author was the Grounds Foreman at the University of Toronto in 1984. 
	As synchronicity would have it, a crumpled letter written on yellow paper was accidently discovered and was written by a young woman named Judy to a young man named Mike. Upon returning home and comparing this discovery with the one from ten years earlier, they were found to be compatible in content and even though they were not written by the same people (even though the names were the same) they could have been. A Found Poem was created: 

.Rochdale 1 
Art Shoes, Yellow paper: 
Mike and Judy a psychotic love affair 

Hello Judy 
down the hall from me 
is a lady piano teacher 
and if you like I'11 ask her if you 
could play her piano for a while. 
I love you more than a sister for a sister I never had. 
I love you more than a daughter 
because even though I had her mother, she 
has told them not to love me. 
Oh Judy I miss you 
and there was so much I didn't say 
(did I listen when you were 
telling me an importance?) 
I love your concern 
for even a hardened cicada 
protests inside a paper bag. 
(forgive my packrat mind, my 
stupidity for fumbling 
and you laughed at how warm I felt) 
womanly beauty, the ability to express it, 
a warm thought that covers 
the feelings of each moments nearness, 
space time a word that is gracious, 
(as needed as the nuts on a nut loaf) 
forgive me for you 
find beauty in the junkyards of my mind. 
I need a simple room, a quiet room, 
completely black with a candle, 
a room for contemplating only, 
I seemed to really upset you 
last night when you . . . 
Please express specifically what 
your thoughts were at the moment 
you began to cry and then sob? 
Dear please, I am concerned for you, 
what hurts you, I also feel. 
May I say there is no logic as 
to how you felt at the time. 

You are a woman and 
I couldn't get over it so please specify: 


how often where you want 
how you want when you want 
(how honest should I be with her?) 
Your friends, my friends, 
what do they want? 
What do you want? 
True affection bull shit games. 
Oh Judy, the tears well up in my eyes. 

Rochdale 2: 

Mike and Judy a psychotic love affair 
Art basics, props not 
so much alive on basics 
but I can t speed. 
I've got to get in touch with coops, 
find out about  . . .  etc. 
Is it more or less accessible to students 
an inevitability - geo aesthetics 
constant thoughts of suicide 
and I have to consider the light at Rochdale. 
Yellow futures, 
applying for starship birds, 
flexibility shoes, and 
the board committee is involved 
in the feasibility of the 
expensive and the old. 
I've only been a grub in the co-op, 
whose people can little afford new ideas 
and borders. 
I've only been a parasite. 
I've taken from Lori 
and given nothing back, 
and from Mike I've taken much 
and given in return 
what money can t afford, 
others are indifferent. 
Mike I care about. 
Much less bed feeling . . . 
Usually bed nothing 
(he s having ego attention) 
I have not given 
what a human being can be paid for 
when words they will be spoken 
all these thoughts of all these days. 
I don t give much care 
about philosophical dilemma, 
a divider of suspicion reigns Michael, 
unlock the ravages of this room. 
Show me the whole little girl, 
she must touch, act, sense, feel, 
(she felt she had composed all these things) 
The other night I dreamt that we were 
ordering food which in the end 
we did not eat and the waitress 
got angry and the others with us had left 
and there we were paying nothing, 
later I was bringing up some food 
on a downtown street and I remembered 
that I saw several people, 
people I had to eat to know 
although in reality I already did, 
(we make so much of the 
little nothings in our brains) 
can you paint the prom? 
I think the world needs another citizen 
who firmly believes that they are right. 
Perhaps your paintings are too intense. 
Too much open mindedness 
and some sense of connection, is it fear? 
The kind of undermining techniques 
of the adversary which is built 
into people, oh well . . . 
Well. . . what promise is there 
in casting free shadows on the beach? 

Graffiti can make the easiest and best Found Poems. These recorded graffiti are from around the University of Toronto campus by that famous Greek author Anonymous, in the mid 1980's. 

Reality is a cop out 
for people who can t 
handle Drugs. 

Drugs are a cop out 
for people who can t 
handle suicide. 

Suicide is a cop out 
for people who can t 
handle life. 

Life is a cop out 
for people who can't 
handle reality. 


	Finally, another form of Creative Plagiarism or Found Poetry that is easily worked on is called Index Poems for want of a better phrase. If one were to pick up an anthology of poems that lists title and/or first lines, check and see if they flow coherently. Find which sections work together  and which do not. 
	It is best not to change or delete words as it should be kept as original as possible, but sometimes Writer s License makes it necessary for the flow to be maintained. In the haste to create an Index Poem, the title of this anthology was overlooked and the original author/editor cannot be properly credited. 
	Make sure you are diligent and give credit where credit is due. Also, see: Creative Writing & 21 Pelicans. 
	Below are two Found Poems created from all or most of the first lines of poems listed in the index of the first 1985 anthology, and Poetry After 9/11 ISBN 0-9718659-1-4 (2002) & OPEN: Four Anthologies, p. 431 Simon & Schuster ISBN 671-21139-0 1973; Poetry Dictionary p. 107 Story Press ISBN 1-884910-04-1

A Blue Grained Line 

a blue grained line circles 
a fragment of the mind, 
a dead mosquito, 
flattened against a door, after dark 
what makes you flower as 
a knight rides into the moon, 
a man in terror of 
impotence, and now 
outside the walls, this is how you live: 
a woman, children, 
an old pot, an old shoe and 
an old skin, 
a piece of thread ripped-out 
from a fierce design as solid 
seeming as antiquity 
autumn equinox 
autumn sequence the old times, 
autumn torture and 
a woman in the shape of a woman, 
walking behind grimed blinds 
slatted across a courtyard back there, 
birds and periodic blood 
blacked out on a wagon, part 
of my life cut out forever 
burning oneself in 
burning oneself out,
can I easily say 
there is a celebration 
in the plaza, 
a child with a chip of mirror 
in his eye, coming 
by evening through the windy city 
completely protected on all sides 
where cruelty is rarely conscious 
the days of spring dead, dead, dead, 
demon lovers, 
did you think I was talking about my life 
about evenings which seem endless now 
and even when I thought I prayed 
I was talking to myself 
everywhere, snow is falling, 
from here on all of us will be living frost, 
burning the cities ill 
however legendary 
hopes sparkle like water 
in the clear carafe and I 
am trying to imagine 
I am up at sunrise, I am walking 
rapidly through striations of light 
and dark, I don't know 
in my dream, children 
in my imagination, insomnia 
in the field the air writhes, 
a heat pocket in the heart 
of the queen Anne's lace, 
a knot of blood in the woods 
it is asleep in my body 
I trust only my existence 
last night you wrote on the wall: 
revolution is poetry, 
letters from the land of sinners 
means there is something to hold, 
meditations for the savage child 
mirror in which 
two are seen as one, 
night pieces for a child 
now, again, the life and death talk, 
now, not a tear begun, 
now that your hopes are shamed, 
you stand nursing your nerves 
when our mother went away 
and father was the king 
out in this desert, 
rain of blood 
rape reforming the crystal 
riding the black express 
from heaven to hell 
so many minds in search of bodies 
something broken something 
the clouds are electric 
in this freedom of the wholly mad, 
their faces, safe as an interior, 
their life, collapsed, 
the music of words, 
the mystic finishes of time, 
the long sunlight lying on the sea 
the pact we made was an ordinary act, 
there were no angels, 
the trees inside are moving 
out into the forest and they say 
this is a woman's confession, 
this is how it feels to do 
something you are afraid of, 
to live, to lay awake 
trying to tell you 
we had to take the world 
as it was given,
we smile, bound by the wheel 
of an endless conversation, 
whatever it was 
what is happening when the ice 
begins to shiver, 
when the grains of a glacier 
are caked in the boot cleats 
you are beside me like a waif,
I touch you with my lingers and, 
you are falling asleep 
I sit looking at you 
hiding there in your words, 
you see a man in your dreams, 
you show me the poems of some woman, 
you are sleeping now, 
I cover you with my heart. 

Poetry After 9/11 
TOC Found Poem [2019]

Grudges in a silent room.
Flight over the old neighborhood
on Ash Wednesday (before 9/11).
Friends, civilization, Whitman
without skyscrapers or [London's] asylum.
Circling, circling, circling,
slowing down for death.
Cookies for peace, gallantly streaming
when the skyline crumbles.
Now, the weather seems different
in the burning air, the burning air.
Nodding cranes I said on that
September morning to the
skeptic [al] New York [ers].
Good Morning [Vietn] America!
No immortal nocturne's at 9am
in the Land of SHI. Mercy.
Going to work on 9/11, this
message will [self] destruct
in sixty seconds, early, late.
Flowers before I was born
over mortal remains but not
on All Saints Day, although all
the Saints were there in September.
Bad days, nights, after 9/11.
The statue, a window on the moment
of flame, weeping tangerine orchids
on the following Sunday afternoon,
writing Liberty Island poems 
after September 11th.
The bed in the wilderness is, 
softer than Ground Zero.