Recent reports have uncovered the dirty work of Canadian poet laureate Pierre DesRuisseaux, who was found to have plagiarized the work of late rapper and poet in his own right, Tupac Shakur. DesRuisseaux's 2013 poetry collection Tranches de vie was released in French, but was translated by "poetry detective" Ira Lightman, who discovered something alarming. According to The Guardian, "two days of sleuthing found 30 out of 47 poems that were heavily based on the work of others." Included in these 30 instances of plagiarism was a rework of Shakur's poem "Sometimes I Cry." It appears DesRuisseaux made very minor changes to the entry, and retitled it "When I’m Alone."
For comparison, here's Tupac's stanza from "Sometimes I Cry":
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
And here's DesRuisseaux's from "When I’m Alone":
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.
This is a particularly big deal, because before his death last January, DesRuisseaux received the Governor General’s Award for French poetry and was named a parliamentary poet laureate. The authenticity of DesRuisseaux's poetry was first brought into question in May 2016, when poet Kathy Figueroa noticed marked similarities between an English translation of DesRuisseaux's "J’avance," and Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise." (The translation of the phrase "J'avance" is literally "I rise." Like... come on, bro.)
After Figueroa posted about the similarities in a Facebook group aptly titled “Plagiarism Alerts,” Lightman began translating DesRuisseaux's poetry and the rest is history. Éditions du Noroît, DesRuisseaux's publisher, is reportedly no longer selling Tranches de vie.