Once again the Oz literary scene has been embarrassed by two blatant acts of plagiarism. In this case both the perpetrators are poets - Graham Nunn and Andrew Slattery. Neither has offered anything resembling an apology for their blatant pilfering of other poet's work, merely the most egregious dissembling. Slattery defended his crime as a "cynical experiment" in the spirit of the hoax poet, Ern Malley of the war years. Nunn merely made some wafty claim to precedent. I think someone needs to point out the italics key on his laptop. If the Avalanches have had to spend a seeming eternity getting permission to sample other people's music, then why should a writer think it appropriate to simply cut and paste the work of others without due acknowledgment, passing it off as their own for their own advancement?
I will quote the words of the three poets responsible for exposing this travesty, Anthony Lawrence, my good friend Margie Cronin, and David Musgrave. Note the use of italics, dear reader. They denote that these are the words and thoughts of a third party:
Serial plagiarism seems to imply a lack of empathy and, in extreme cases, something like sociopathy. When exposed, some plagiarists say they are simply paying homage to other writers or use words like "collage", "cento" or "sampling". It seems that, even when the game is up and the evidence is irrefutable, the word "plagiarism" just can't be uttered".
Meanwhile, I am still awaiting an explanation from Mr Nunn for my name appearing as a judge at one of his "celebrations of the word" or some such a few years back when I was safely shivering in the mountains well south of the Tweed.