Regarding Originality of Work

This is one of these hard to write posts, so I’ll just try to be succinct:

In July of 2011, Niteblade received a poetry submission: “Foretelling” was the poem’s title.

After a few edits, I accepted the poem for publication. Then I came across another poem, this one already published back in 2007. To my shock, “Foretelling” was almost identical to that other poem, not just a few words or even a few lines, but word for word, line for line; sure, that other poem had been cut significantly, and there were a few minor changes, some new line breaks, but it was the same poem.

I informed the original author about the incident; I informed the author who had sent the submission that Niteblade would no longer publish anything by them because “Foretelling” was not theirs, and that this author was no longer welcome to submit to any of the venues I edit for.

A response from the original author told me that the author submitting “Foretelling” to us had tried this before: they had submitted “their” poem to Liquid Imagination where the editor immediately found that it was not originally theirs.

For editors, this is perhaps a cautionary tale. For all concerned, it’s really just sad.

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