29 June 2012

Billy and Shane

OK, so in 2007 or 2008, Shane Koyczan was caught passing off a Billy Collins poem, "The Lanyard," as his own during a festival reading (or, at least, not giving Collins credit for the work). When it came to light, Koyczan wrote an apology to the festival that included this: "My sincerest apologies for failing to disclose the authorship of the piece 'Lanyard' in my last appearance at your fine festival. The poem is indeed written by Billy Collins with the exception of the beginning which was penned by myself. I have performed the piece many times and have always credited Billy as he is one of my favorite writers and it is always a delight to spread the word about those we love."

So, while looking for a Maxwell House Coffee commercial featuring Koyczan (!!!), I came across this clip from a 2010 reading, where again he includes the bulk of Billy Collins' poem "The Lanyard" in this piece called "Move Pen Move." Unless it happens after the clip cuts off (in which case, please disregard everything I've written here), he doesn't seem to acknowledge Collins, doesn't spread the word about this poet he loves. And here he has added a very long (and weak) ending to the poem, and given it a new title.

This is especially odd because his letter of apology also included: "As a writer I am completely aware of how crucial it is that the proper recognition fall on the proper people. I don’t have to imagine how upsetting it would be to hear that someone was trying to pass off my work as their own... it’s happened. The most recent example is a boy in the states who used “Move Pen Move” and “Visiting Hours” in a speech forensics competition. It stirred up quite a fuss and he was disciplined rather extremely."

Maybe someone can explain this to me. Does this just happen and nobody has mentioned it to me — that you can just tuck someone else's poem into your own without attribution?

Over and out.

28 June 2012


Here I am, in my favourite place in Canada — the West Kootenays. Reading a poem from You Exist. Details Follow.

Over and out.

25 June 2012

A reading in Toronto tomorrow and 2 workshops in Ottawa in July!

OK, there's an awful lot to talk about and catch up on, but for now, here are a couple of things:
On Tuesday, June 26, I'm reading at the Art Bar Poetry Series at Pauper's Pub, 8 pm, in Toronto. Aside from launches, it's been a long time since I've done a Toronto reading. Many months, anyway. I'll be sticking to poetry for this event, reading from You Exist. Details Follow. and also from newer poetry. I actually didn't realize I had much newer poetry, but a recent grant deadline threw me into action and I found out that I had … well, a grant application's worth!
Also reading at the Art Bar will be Aisha Sasha John and Andrea Thompson. I should mention that I haven't read at that series in at least four or five years. I got invited a couple times by one of the series' organizers, but another one or two of the series' organizers were then my arch-enemies. The archies in question have since departed the Art Bar team and I have accepted the invitation to read.
Next month, I'm very excited to be doing a couple of workshops in Ottawa. The Tree Reading Series is bringing me in for a freebie before its monthly reading, and local poet and alphabet adventurer Pearl Pirie has asked me to do a Boot Camp at her place. Details follow.
I'll also have some time in Ottawa for one-on-one coaching sessions, if anyone's interested.

A one-hour writing workshop sparked by the literary works of the late and magnificent Joe Brainard, on the occasion of the release of his Collected Writings and the re-release of the legendary Bean Spasms collaboration between Joe, Ron Padgett, and Ted Berrigan.

Tuesday, July 24, 6:45 – 7:45 pm
Arts Court, Daly Ave, 2nd floor
Presented by Tree Seed Workshops

A relaxed but intensive workshop for beginning poets, experienced poets, stalled poets, and haikuists who want to get beyond three lines. Poetry Boot Camp focuses on the pleasures of poetry and the riches that spontaneity brings, through lively directed writing strategies. You will write in ways you’d never imagined. Arrive with an open mind, and leave with a heap of new poems!
Wednesday, July 25, 6:30 – 930 pm
Venue is a private home in Hintonburg
(a block from the 86 bus route)
Register by prepaying via PayPal or eTransfer to Stuart Ross at razovsky [at] gmail [dot] com
Space is limited.
Over and out.