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Words for the Taking: The Hunt for a Plagiarist
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Words for the Taking: The Hunt for a Plagiarist

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  21 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
In January 1992, poet Neal Bowers received a phone call that changed his life. He learned his poems had been stolen and published under another name. Bowers hired a copyright lawyer and a private detective, and they began the agonizing hunt to track down the person who stole his creative work.

Bowers was dealing with more than the theft of words. He uncovered the plagiarist
Paperback, 161 pages
Published August 15th 2007 by Southern Illinois University Press (first published 1997)
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M. D.  Hudson
Jul 31, 2009 M. D. Hudson rated it really liked it
Facinating book if you are trying to publish poetry in literary magazines, or publish a book. In a nutshell: Bowers is a fairly typical establishment poetry professor in Iowa. In the early 90's he discovers that some nut job is plagiarizing his poems and getting them published in the same sort of lit mags he himself publishes in. This of itself is of only marginal interest. What facinated me was the fact that when Bowers complains to his colleagues about the plagirist and track him down, he had ...more
This is a fascinating and truly engaging first-person account of a poet's work being plagiarized and his frustrating attempt to get someone to care. This was a repeated plagiarism: a number of the author's published poems were stolen and submitted to (and accepted by) a a wide range of poetry journals. To make matters more painful, at least two of the poems were Bowers' elegies for his father. The search for the plagiarist ends up being a mystery of sorts, replete with private investigators, mul ...more
Jul 21, 2010 Sheila rated it it was amazing
Neal Bowers is a poet. He’s also a professor of English at Iowa State. And he’s been plagiarized.

I loved Neal Bowers’ writing in Words for the Taking. He describes the feelings that pour into poetry, the not-quite-sure-what-it-means but it’s mine, the pieces of self that hide between the lines. He even gives an example of one of his poems, except the credited author is someone else. The first lines are changed. The line-breaks aren’t quite the same. But on the next page is Neal Bowers’ poem, and
May 08, 2011 John rated it it was ok
While I feel for Neal Bowers and the trouble he went through with a serial plagiarist, I find the book tends to be a little too focused on his situation and misses the bigger issue. In other words, I found the book tends to slip into a dissatisfied whine of someone who is being naive about things. At first I empathized with the author. Yes, we teach everyone the dangers of plagiarism and why it's bad. But then when it happens? From the account as retold in the book, most of the industry around p ...more
Susan B.
Oct 11, 2007 Susan B. rated it it was ok
This book is about a poet whose poems were plagiarized by someone who we learn by the end of the book is a convicted child molester! Though this book raises many important issues about plagiarism, unfortunately, the specifics of case related to both the victim and the perpetrator detract from that discussion. I had a good amount of sympathy for the author who was an accomplished poet (and professor) at the time of plagiarisms, but who actually stopped writing poems thereafter and turned instead ...more
Wednesday Green
Jun 23, 2010 Wednesday Green rated it liked it
Written by a guy I really admire at ISU. It's a great chronicle of the struggles he experienced. The frustration comes through clearly as well as much needed information anyone who aspires to write should know.
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Neal Bowers was a Distinguished Professor of English at Iowa State University until his retirement in 2008. He continues to reside in Ames, Iowa.
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