Squirrel of Destiny (neosquirrel) wrote in poetsunite,
Squirrel of Destiny

A call to arms, to those whose pen is mightier than the sword.

Hello all.
So I found out about this tonight, about a recently graduated highly school student who literally (in every sense of the word) had her writing plagiarized in the past month and then resubmitted in not one, not two, but three poetry contests, and won them all in one form or another, garnering over $5200 in prizes. Seeing as how the very name of this group embodies this very plight, I thought it fitting to post it here.

This is from a writer of Pudding House, the publisher of the young author's work:

"I wanted to share an e-mail I received from my publishers, Jennifer Bosveld and Kathleen Burgess at Pudding House http://www.puddinghouse.com/

They write,

"Dear Friends, Editors, and Authors,

You may have heard of Eva Della Lana, the young poet who wrote a blazing poem titled “Menarche in Rural Ohio,” which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for 2006. She published it in a chapbook when she was a Pudding House apprentice at age 16. This poem has just won $5000 in a Random House Writers Contest for New York City high school students. Sounds like a dream come true. The problem is, the poem was plagiarized by a New York City girl who changed several capital letters and claimed she’d written it. She even entered three contests with the poem and won or placed in them all. She received a great deal of money. No wonder she won three prizes, it is brilliant. Order a copy of the chapbook Places She’s Been from Pudding House to see what an extraordinary talent Eva Della Lana is.

When Eva Googled her name a month ago and the title of her poem online, she discovered the theft. Jennifer Bosveld, publisher of the chapbook, and one of the most generous, hard-working human beings in this world, as well as a widely published poet herself, has been seeking justice for Eva for the past month.

This is a letter I just sent to Random House and also to several of you, hoping that you’d also take up the battle and write to Melanie Fallon-Houska at worldofexpression@randomhouse.com to call for justice for Eva. The offending author entered Eva’s poem 3 times in 3 different contests! Faced with exposure, the plagiarizing writer Adria Giattino has issued a letter admitting the theft. But so far, Eva has received nothing to compensate her, not even an announcement regretting the theft of her fine poem.

Random House issued a letter of apology, but no public announcement. Random House removed the name from one contest page http://www.randomhouse.com/creativewriting/winners.html and deleted the poem from the winner’s book today after I discovered it was still in the winners book. Click on any winning entry. Once inside the winners’ book, you can perform a control f to find Eva Della Lana’s poem still listed under a plagiarizing author’s name twice—on the Contents page and again on page vi.

Random House claims that Random House Writers Contest is not Random House, which has never published a plagiarized poem. This is disingenuous.

I’d appreciate your assistance in spreading the story around the country. The more clamor over this plagiarism, the better."

The poetry of this author is magnificent, and this is coming from someone who isn't much for poetry mind you.

Since I know a number of you are writers and poets, I implore upon you to spread the word to your friends and fellow authors. Random House is dragging their feet, and no progress has been made on their part to

1. Make amends for the plagiarism, only other than removing the plagiarist's name and prize from their winning list

2. offer a public apology to the original author herself, only the publisher

3. to go so far as to even deny the very contest name is somehow not associated with them, despite the fact that the contact page for the site not only lists their address to the New York offices, but the very site address (http://www.randomhouse.com/creativewriting/contact.html) is, in fact, Random House.

The other two poetry contest holders (NYCC and Scholastic) have already made amends for the transgressions. So why is Random House being so difficult in both their compensatory and morality to the author? Big business publishers need to be motivated-- nay, convinced to own up to their mistake. The more voices from authors and those that purchase their wares can alter the tide and give Ms. Lana the due credit, and possibly the reward for her original work.

Contact them at the following:

Permissions & Copyright Department
Random House
1745 Broadway, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10019
FAX: (212) 572-6066
Phone: (212) 782-9000

Melanie Fallon-Houska
Director, Corporate Contributions & Random House, Inc. Creative Writing Competition
Random House, Inc.
1745 Broadway, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212.782.8319
Fax: 212.940.7590

The email for the creative writing competition that the poem was submitted to is:

At the very least, copy/paste this text wherever you can let it be seen to spread the word.
If moderators feel this post is in error of the group, I will bear no ill will should they seek to remove it.
For once, one of these plights you read about is actually true.

Thanks, and keep the pressure on Random House!
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