Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Canada’s Late Poet Laureate Accused of Plagiarizing Tupac, Maya Angelou & Others

Pierre DesRuisseaux (L) and Tupac Shakur
Pierre DesRuisseaux (L) and Tupac Shakur

*Late Canadian poet laureate Pierre DesRuisseaux joins a long history of white artists who have plagiarized or appropriated work by artists of color.

According to The Guardian, poet Ira Lightman discovered via a Facebook post that DesRuisseaux plagiarized “Still I Rise,” the powerful poem by Maya Angelou. He began scanning his poems, checking for other plagiarized work and found that DesRuisseaux had lifted lines from Federico García Lorca, Tupac and countless others.

DesRuisseaux was able to get away with it for so long by translating the stolen work into French. No one had checked the veracity of his words…until now.

Compare Tupac’s poem with DesRuisseaux’s version below:

TUPAC: “Sometimes I Cry” (fragment):
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

DESRUISSEAUX: “When I’m Alone” (fragment):
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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