Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Borrowing vs. stealing ...

I never heard of either Brad Vice or the controversy over a recent short story collection of his. But it seems quite a tale. Grumpy Old Bookman offers some comment and several useful links. A Charming Plagiarist in the New York Press provides the prosecutorial summation. In The literary lynching of Brad Vice Jason Sanford mounts a defense against the original charge, then takes up his cudgel again to ward off new ones. GalleyCat weighed in. So has Booksquare: To Live Outside the Law.
As for myself, I share Grumpy Old Bookman's sentiments about the creative-writing nexus.


  1. See Emerging Writers Network from yesterday if you want to see a bunch of writers (including moronic me) spout off on this done-to-death story.

  2. Thanks, Richard. That link was also at the bottom of the Booksquare link. I read a good number of those comments, in facty, including yours. As someone who has certainly alluded to other works in poems I have written, I see this as having much to do with proportion. An admittedly cursory look at the Brad Vice works in question strongly suggests that Professor Vice tends to let others' imagination do a disproportionate amount of the work his own should be doing.

  3. I wonder how unusual he is in that respect among recent MFAs. Maybe borrowing exact words is more honest than borrowing everything else. Have you read the winners of the Flannery O'Connor Award Series over the years? They all blend into one another for me, with none of them having a truly distinctive voice. The stories are all competent, certainly, but how much "original" imagination (your word) is there?

    As Groucho said, "If you want to know if a man is honest, ask him. If he says yes, you know he's crooked."

  4. Hi Richard,
    I have indeed noticed the sameness among stories coming out of the writing mills. Hanging around with other writers isn't the best way of developing as a writer. The best influences on me were working in construction and all the other jobs I had in the years when I just scraped by -- jobs that had nothing to do with writing, that let me get to know people who never talked or even thought about writing.