This Poet Is Being Accused Of Stealing Words From Tupac

MILWAUKEE - 1994:  Rapper and actor 2 Pac performs at the Mecca Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1994.  (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

This Poet Is Being Accused Of Stealing Words From Tupac

Well, that wasn't a smart move.

Published September 12, 2017

After taking any basic English class, we’ve all learned that plagiarism is wrong. But plagiarizing one of the greatest rap legends in the genre is just plain stupid. A Canadian poet by the name of Pierre DesRuisseaux is being accused of allegedly stealing one of Tupac’s iconic poems for his own book.

British poet Ira Lightman only recently discovered the instance of possible plagiarism in the DesRuisseaux's 2013 book, Tranches de Vie. The Canadian allegedly borrowed words from Tupac’s “Sometimes I Cry” poem for one of his poems of the exact same title.  

(Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Pac’s original poem reads: “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 poem is pretty much identical, with little to no variation. “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,” the 2013 poem reads.

DesRuisseaux reportedly passed away in 2016, so he was unable to comment on the recent allegations. Nevertheless, Lightman called his poem “deliberate translations” of Tupac’s work during an interview with the National Post. “It looks to me like a book of deliberate translations,” Lightman said, mentioning that DesRuisseaux failed to credit the rapper.

As if stealing from Tupac wasn’t enough, DesRuisseaux is also accused of plagiarizing from Maya Angelou, among several other authors and artists. Clearly there needs to be a better system for detecting plagiarized work before it becomes published.

Written by Jessica McKinney


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