Poetry: Imitation Versus Stealing

Michele Sharpe
3 min readApr 8, 2021

#NaPoWriMo2021 Poetry Prompts

a display of accordion fold paper flowers (or possibly the tops of umbrellas) in shades of yellow
Photo by Cathy Mü on Unsplash

T.S. Eliot (why do I keep bringing him up when I claim to resent him?) is credited with saying “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” Of course, it’s plain wrong to plagiarize, and Eliot’s statement shouldn’t be taken as a license to lie. In fact, if we practice good research habits and read the statement in context, it becomes clear exactly what he meant by “steal.”

Michele Sharpe

Words in NYT, WaPo, Oprah Mag, Poets&Writers, et als. Adoptee/high school dropout/hep C survivor/former trial attorney. @MicheleJSharpe & MicheleSharpe.com