Friday, November 04, 2011

who steals my words steals [insert chosen word]

I wanted desperately to post on this when (or is that a 'but'?) I was busy. In the intervening four or five days, I have given myself repetitive stress injury thinking about this and now my brain is broken, fit only for romance novels I can finish in a couple of hours or a dizzy hour around the local park (which is only a park in disguise and is really a place to hide over-ground sewage pipes and overhead high-tension wires).

However, I still think I should be able to find these posts for ready reference at some point in the future, so I will first link and then modify with a couple of cryptic statements of my own.

First, the posts:

(Apparently something happened on Facebook but since I am no longer on it, all this happened as if on another planet. But news gets out, news gets out.)

(A few poet friends found someone on FB passing off lines from poems they, and others they knew, had written. As far as I can tell from the screen grabs, there was no attribution, but really - I know nothing about what it really was like on FB.)

Since this appears to have happened to other poets over several years, some of them wrote a joint post about it. You can find the post here. There's a follow-up post that selects some of the comments and responds to them, but you can find it for yourselves from the blog.

More interesting to me is poet Monica Mody's comment (who, along with Vivek Narayanan, raises some questions that I don't think the signatories to the post have thought about sufficiently). In follow-up, she's posted about this on Montevidayo.

Now, I promise I had plenty to say about this. But see opening paragraph: I have sprained my brain.

My own rather smashana vairagyam inflected view is that our poetry, as it is today, is neither strong enough nor lasting enough for this to really matter. In a few centuries, someone might make stupid movies about how one of us is really someone else. Even with Google’s apparently long and ineradicable memory, it’s not going to matter which one of us wrote which poem (or which part of a poem). What will live or die are the poems themselves. Between ‘live’ and ‘die’ you know which I think is more likely. 

Which is to say: Homer. Shakespeare. Kabir. Lalla. Calvin signing the snow. Signatures & stamps of ownership. Temporary immortality. Steve Jobs. Thermonuclear war. Bikhre Bimb. Single word quotation. Hive-mindedness.


km said...

You're certainly in prime blogging mood - wordplay and fatalism :)

I wish more people stole good poems, phrases, words and sounds. Someone's already done the hard work, so why waste it?

Space Bar said...

km: :-) I certainly seem to be!

Listen in today, yeah?

dipali said...

Waiting for your brain to unsprain itself.

equivocal said...

A big fat 'LIKE' for your last para there...