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Fake News

How My Wife Improved Robert Frost’s Most Famous Poem



Date: Sat, 5 Jun 2018 10:19 AM
Subject: Re: POETRY SUBMISSION
From: [REDACTED]@gmail.com
To: [REDACTED]@hotmail.com

Dear Editors,

I found your publication after doing a random Google search of poetry blogs. Let me start by saying, I’m not a poet. I have never read poetry in my life—and, if I’m being honest, I’ve never cared for it. I’m a contractor, and I read sports biographies. I mean, when I’m not actually watching sports, you know?

But this isn’t about me. My wife, Lydia (will try to get a bio shortly), is a shy woman, and apparently, she’s a poet too. Recently, she told me she decided to take up poetry. When I asked to read her stuff, she refused—at first. But eventually she let up, and I gotta tell you guys, I was blown away by what I read (and this is coming from a guy who doesn’t even read poetry!). This poem is so simple and so powerful that even guys like me can appreciate it. I don’t have a single doubt in my mind that a poem like this could actually help my wife start a poetry a successful poetry career.

She said she would never dream of getting her stuff published, but I really think this stuff is so good that the world should hear it you know? So I’ve included one of her poems here (below) so you guys can see what I’m talking about. It’s a poem she calls “The fork in the road.” My goal is to send this stuff out to as many publishers as I can find and hopefully get a little book put together as a surprise for my talented wife. Let me know if you guys are interested.

Sincerely,
[REDACTED]

The Fork in the Road
By: Lydia [REDACTED]

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Date: Sat, 6 Jun 2018 11:19 AM
Subject: Re: POETRY SUBMISSION
From: [REDACTED]@gmail.com
To: [REDACTED]@hotmail.com

Dear Kenneth,

Please note, this is a VERY famous Robert Frost, poem (The Road Not Taken) , published circa 1916, that you are sending us. Not an original poem by your wife.

Either this is truly an honest mistake or some sort of joke. Please be sure of what you are sending to reputable literary journals, prior to this sort of submission.

Helen [REDACTED] Editor in Chief


Date: Sat, 8 Jun 2018 1:24 PM
Subject: Re: POETRY SUBMISSION
From: [REDACTED]@gmail.com
To: [REDACTED]@hotmail.com

Helen,

I’m extremely embarrassed and enraged by this. I can assure you that this is NO JOKE. Just to clarify: Are you saying that my wife’s supposed original poem The Fork in the Road is too similar to this Frost poem The Road Not Taken for it to be a coincidence—or are you saying she FLAT-OUT stole this poem from him and tried to pass it off as her own?

Also, are there any legal implications I need to worry about? In my defense, my wife told me the poem was hers and I was only trying to do her a favor. Please advise.

My apologies for the mess my wife has caused,
Kenn


Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2018 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: POETRY SUBMISSION
From: [REDACTED]@gmail.com
To: [REDACTED]@hotmail.com

Dear Kenneth,

Other than the title, it is word for word, Robert Frost’s poem, published in 1916. Yes, I am indeed saying this is a stolen piece of work by an extremely famous poet. Ironically, one of his most famous of all time pieces.

Here is the link to the Poetry Foundation, one of the most respected organizations and authorities on poetry in the United States if not the world (you can see it is the EXACT poem):

www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173536

Also, do a google search of the Frost poem if you wish .

As far as legal implications, I recommend you withdraw any and all work you have submitted to other journals on behalf of your wife. Be it this particular Frost poem or any others.

Plagiarism is certainly a legal issue when it comes to something of this nature. We will excuse this incident, but I do ask that you do not submit your wife’s “poetry” to us again. As far as other journals that you may have sent to, they will have to make their own decisions on how to handle this.

Robert Frost is long gone, i would imagine his estate owns rights to his works. As a poet myself I must say this is an incorrigible offense to the art of poetry in general.

Good Luck with everything.

Best,

Helen [REDACTED] Editor


Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2018 10:59 PM
Subject: Re: POETRY SUBMISSION
From: [REDACTED]@gmail.com
To: [REDACTED]@hotmail.com

I checked the site, and you’re absolutely right. I’m speechless. All I can say is I feel like a fool. In my line of work, honesty and reputation are the ONLY things that matter. My wife has lied about several things over the years—including her faithfulness—but that’s besides the point. I just don’t understand why she would do something like this. Like I said, I never read poetry, so I guess I can see how she thought she’d get away with something like this. What I can’t understand is the WHY part.

I’ve contacted the other places (only a few) I submitted “Lydia’s poem,” and I tried to explain the situation. I’m going to confront my wife this week about her lie, and I don’t anticipate it going smoothly. Is there anything you’d recommend I say to my wife to drive home just how wrong what she did was?

Kenn


Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2018 08:13 AM
Subject: Re: POETRY SUBMISSION
From: [REDACTED]@gmail.com
To: [REDACTED]@hotmail.com

Kenneth,

We are truly sorry this has happened to you. As to any advice on how to approach the matter, that will have to be up to you, it is too personal for me to do so.

Best,

Helen [REDACTED] Editor


Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2018 09:21 AM
Subject: Re: POETRY SUBMISSION
From: [REDACTED]@gmail.com
To: [REDACTED]@hotmail.com

Helen,

Please call me Kenn. I spoke to my wife about the “situation.” I feel like the least I can do is let you know what happened when I confronted her about the situation.

It didn’t go well. When I told her I knew the poem wasn’t hers and asked why she lied to me and how serious you told me the whole “plagiarism” thing was, she lost it (like I figured she would), and started screaming about how I should’ve minded my own [email protected]** business, and I how I was a small man, etc., etc. No big deal. I’m used to this sort of thing with Lydia… she’s always a very passionate person. Then she told me that she gave me that poem because I would never understand the poems she authored all on her own because I was too stupid to understand anything that “deep and insightful.”

Finally, she got into the whole stealing thing. She said what she did wasn’t actually stealing. She said it was like “editing” or “finishing an unfinished poem.” We argued for a while about that BS excuse, and she basically said that title of the Frost poem wasn’t right, that the poem wasn’t about the road the guy didn’t take but about the actual fork in it. She said having the wrong title of poem was taking away from the message in the poem, so she fixed it. And because of that fix she was also an author.

The argument ended with Lydia “trying to break it down into terms you can understand.” She told to think about it like the Beatles (I’m a big fan). She asked me if I remembered that old unreleased John Lennon song “Free as a Bird” that they found years ago. When I told I did, she said that Paul added a few words to the original to finish it for John because he was dead and couldn’t do it on his own, and that she was basically doing the same thing with this poem. I told her she was out of her mind comparing herself to Paul McCartney (poor word choice by me), and she stormed out. We haven’t spoken since.

Look, I know how that sounds—and my head is telling that Lydia’s embarrassed she got caught and she’s doing everything in her power to trick her “dumb contractor husband” into thinking she’s not actually a liar and a thief (I told you what I thought about those qualities in the last email.) But she was so defensive about not openly stealing, I feel like she really doesn’t feel like she’s done anything wrong here. Helen, you know poetry, do you think it’s possible that she actually believes this “finishing an unfinished poem” business—have you ever heard of people that write poetry doing something like that? Or am I just being blind to the truth here? I’d really hate to believe the woman I married is capable of such disgusting behavior. Please let me know if you’ve ever heard of other similar examples of this “editing” thing or whatever the hell Lydia is calling it — but I’m afraid I probably already know the answer deep down.

Thanks in advance,
Kenn


Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2018 10:34 AM
Subject: Re: POETRY SUBMISSION
From: [REDACTED]@gmail.com
To: [REDACTED]@hotmail.com

Dear Kenn,

She stole the poem word for word. A famous poem, a well published and well taught poem.

There is no “fixing” someone else’s work. And the delusion of thinking one has “fixed” it is simply a delusion. Plagiarism is plagiarism, plain and simple, no excuse.

Changing the title to a Frost poem, because one feels they have a “better” title and passing it off as their own is still plagiarism.

Sorry for your troubles.

Best, Helen


Date: Sun 14 Jun 2018 09:12 AM
From: [REDACTED]@gmail.com
To: [REDACTED]@hotmail.com

Helen,

You’re absolutely right. I don’t know what the hell she was thinking. Maybe because the poem isn’t too well known outside side of poetry and academic groups (I hadn’t heard it before), Lydia thought she could actually get away with that. Who knows? But the why doesn’t matter. Lydia is a liar and a thief (among other things).

Helen, I don’t want you to think this is all your fault (in a way I think talking to you was a blessing), but I’ve decided to move out—and a divorce is likely. There have been MANY issues, and this was the last straw with me. I have no tolerance for the lies (I can go on and on here), and I can’t be with a person who doesn’t value honesty the way I do. I doubt it will ever come to this, Helen but… if this divorce gets messy (and knowing Lydia it probably will) and I need to proof what I was dealing with, would you be willing to testify or talk to the lawyers or whatever the hell you do in those situations (never been divorced) about this situation?

Thanks,
Kenn


Date: Sun 14 Jun 2018 4:33 PM
Subject: Re: POETRY SUBMISSION
From: [REDACTED]@gmail.com
To: [REDACTED]@hotmail.com

Dear Kenn,

Again, sorry for your troubles. At this point, we are going to ask that you please cease all communication and contact with us. We do not wish to be involved in personal lives of our submitters.

Best,

Helen [REDACTED]

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