W W Norton & Co Inc, January 1997. Hardcover. Used - Good / Very Good. Item #266202
Following the discovery of a single stolen poem, Neal Bowers, poet and professor of English at Iowa State, finds alarming evidence of repeated thefts of two of his poems. Other poets are also found to have been plagiarized, but none more than once. Bewildered to be the "victim of choice" as instances of theft mount - "a privilege akin to having a tapeworm, " as he says in his preface - Bowers feels his own creativity stifled. Determined to hold the plagiarist accountable, Bowers, with the help of his wife, is drawn into a bizarre game of catch-me-if-you-can. Further pseudonyms for the plagiarist come to light, and a distinctly unsavory past is uncovered. Among other things, the Bowers' odyssey introduces them to the legal system and a sympathetic female detective; reveals the varying (and often frustrating) reactions of fellow poets; and touches on the possibly even more ambitious current activities of the plagiarist. Finally, a strange and entertaining correspondence ensues when Bowers's experience generates a flood of nationwide publicity. Despite the jolts and disappointments of his quest, Neal Bowers leaves us with the affirmation of what matters most to the poet - the poem itself and the process that engenders it.