A former poet laureate from Canada is now under fire for plagiarism. Pierre DesRuisseaux, who passed away in January of last year, seems to have copied a number of wordsmiths including Maya Angelou, Spanish playwright, Federico García Lorca, and even the late Tupac Shakur. The accusations come from a report published by The Guardian this week, that shows DesRuisseaux shamelessly copied verses from some of the world's most prominent poets. In one of the many revelations, it looks like the Parliamentary Poet jacked lines from Makaveli himself.
DesRuisseaux, who garnered a considerable amount of accolades during his lifetime, was initially called out for plagiarism last year. In May 2016, a poet named Kathy Figueroa discovered that DesRuisseaux's French language work "J’avance," was shockingly similar to that of Maya Angelou's iconic piece, "Still I Rise". This spurred a more thorough examination by Guardian writer, Ira Lightman, who eventually found multiple cases of plagiarism in DesRuisseaux's catalogue.
When Lightman translated Pierre's 2013 book, Tranches de vie, he found that the author copied a Tupac poem called, "Sometimes I Cry". Just like he did with Maya Angelou and Charles Bukowski, DesRusseaux dropped a few words from Pac and published the verse under a new title, "When I'm Alone". You can compare excerpts from both poems below.
“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.
"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
DesRuisseaux's book in question is no longer being sold by its publisher, Éditions du Noroît. Despite the bombshell news and the fact that Lightman reached out to Éditions representatives, no statement has been released by the company.