Former Canadian Poet Laureate Plagiarized Tupac Shakur, Maya Angelou

Pierre DesRuisseaux has been accused of swiping verses published in 2013 book 'Tranches de Vie.'

September 12, 2017 5:00 am
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Ugh, Canada. It appears that one of our northern neighbor’s chief poets liked to cut and paste more than he did wax poetic.

According to the National Post, former Canadian poet laureate Pierre DesRuisseaux has been accused of plagiarizing everybody from Dylan Thomas (he of “rage, rage against the dying of the light” fame), Louis MacNeice, and Maya Angelou—not to mention ’90s gangster rapper/poet Tupac Shakur. The accuser? British poet and word-sleuth Ira Lightman. He took up the banner for Ontario poet Kathy Figueroa, who was the first to notice the stench of plagiarism within DesRuisseaux’s words.

ResRuisseaux, who was named the country’s fourth Parliamentary Poet Laureate in 2009 (he died last year), published the plagiarized poems, with zero attribution— in French, the perfect hiding place, per Lightman—in his 2013 book Tranches de Vie.

The words he pilfered from Tupac came from the latter’s poem, “Sometimes I Cry,” which DesRuisseaux recast as “When I’m Alone.”

Tupac’s verses are as follows:
Sometimes when I’m alone
I cry because I’m on my own
The tears I cry are bitter and warm
They flow with life but take no form

Here’s DesRuisseaux’s “translated” version:
Sometimes when I’m alone I cry
Because I’m alone.
The tears I cry are bitter and burning.
They flow with life, they do not need reason.


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