Tag Archives: #prose

Of copying, proximity & plagiarism

I was considering writing a poem. But I’m a little bit grumpy beyond writing poetry at the moment so I’m gonna bloggy blog which I rarely do. I’m gonna rant about poetry writing for a bit.

Plagiarism & copying are icky on a good day. & like it’s a big topic in academia. I’m not going to talk much about that, because the solution to plagiarized essays, largely lies in post-secondary school & grading reform; with notable exceptions for leeway to not be dealt out, as it consistently tends to be, for the greatest offenders, the most privileged among students.

Affluenza is a big motivator for a lot of things done & often blamed for existing amongst marginalized people, for reasons I think we all understand.

But…it takes a special kind of annoying writer to do this with creative writing, & especially with poetry.

Because witaf would you write poetry for publication for, if you couldn’t think of anything original to say? Like why even? It must be so frustrating & defeats the entire purpose of writing poetry.

Good poetry & poetic craft, including poetic prose forms come from a very visceral & subconscious place. You can’t fake that in the long term. It comes off as contrived.

Poetry is like music. It’s a practice of instrumentation & composition. It also shares qualities with painting & drawing & fine art in general as well. I would argue also, journalism, science & philosophy. Because of the importance of observation, experimentation, coding & semiotics.

Copying is completely counter-intuitive to writing poetry. It goes against what poetry is.

If you want to be good at poetry: learn everything you can about everything & copy none of it.

Grapple with it.

Develop a unique aesthetic that’s informed.

This next one is important, especially for English language poets: stop living in the past & in the so-called ‘cannon’ or like Harry Potter. Read more & different things. Listen to the world & listen to people.

Poetry is everywhere & it’s everything. It’s not Latin & Greek Classics + Jane Austen or some shit. You will not get much original in form or content out of your weird Victorian nostalgia, I guarantee it.

This is the biggest problem I see with poets who copy & plagiarize. They have very limited or superficial interests in literature. Period.

That’s why, someone like Kafka, is unique in the ‘cannon’, because he worked at a desk job in a bank, & he used that in his writing. He had a crisp clear style like you would use to write a memo or a letter, juxtaposed with a completely surreal, allegorical kind of parable style of writing.

So he could write these really interesting stories, in a very almost matter of fact delivery. He was both completely literary & completely immersed in the every day & his own reflections.

& btw, he was insecure about his writing, & he wasn’t walking around being a bully about it like some people…he was shy & hid his writing, another sad marker of a lot of serious & good artists.

We can be bold & share, but still recognize that he was such a meticulous, careful & beautiful writer, & he hardly showed that work to anyone…that’s how much he cared about the craft itself.

Such a perfectionist, he couldn’t bring himself to finish many of his brilliant works; many of which have been published without endings, post-mortem, because his bff was like ‘um nope these are really amaze & they can’t go in the trash can!!!’ Thank you to that guy. Omg.

Of course we don’t even read him in English classes, even though his work translates very well & has been well translated…that’s how silly & limited English language & literature education is…

I like flowery words too sometimes. But like…using them in place of a story or really working on the process, the movement of a poem, is a big mistake.

Certain linguistic flourishes & arcane vocabulary should be used musically & aesthetically, where applicable, not to cover up the stench of derivative & conceptually vapid writing.

Having been plagiarized/copied twice in the last year alone, I can tell you, it’s really not a good look…

Living in the past + derivative writing, & referring to like Thoreau, Wordsworth, Plath & Bukowski or like Attwood & King, ad nauseam, isn’t going to make you an original writer. I promise you. Branch the fuck out.

As I said, poets & poetry are everywhere.

Stop copying. Stop it.

It must be extremely frustrating to write poetry from the places I just criticized.

This has everything to do with the devaluing of poetry & a misplaced snobbish literary definition of poetry, which consciously or unconsciously excludes poetic forms & learning which don’t trace back to like Greek dramas & Chaucer.

& it’s affecting access (as it’s designed to do) for a lot of people who are influenced by other things.

I mean I love a lot of mid 20th-century writing from around the world. But is that all I love? No never. Because I also recognize its context & realize there’s soooo much other exciting creativity out there.

I also love contemporary art & poetry across genres. I love ancient Buddhist writings, just to name a few of my interests.

I get inspired by things such as reading fashion magazines, zines, even fliers; as would a collagist, bricolaging different materials & making something new & original…not by copying, by engaging & grappling with the material.

Anyway. Rant out. But like stop copying, & start writing from deep within yourself.

Develop your own style while you learn technique, just as you would with drawing, for example.

Not happy to be excluded from things by people who baffle me. Poetry is the last thing I would write & show to people if I couldn’t be original…

In fact, when I can’t make the poetry I want to, I do turn to other forms of writing & art. Because honestly, it would be to me like writing a song specifically for piano, without a piano.

It makes no sense.

© Niliema Karkhanis

Authour’s note: hopefully my little essay here will also address the intensely arrogant attitude that felt it could literally comment on my professional poetry website about ‘what prose is,’ like I don’t know wtf I’m talking about.

& the one that thought they could just rip my original words right off unapologetically 🙃

P.s. & regarding the concluding sentence of my essay, you’re not John Cage. So don’t even…

Further developments in: is prose prose?

Imagine excluding someone based on a set of rules you invent the next time around.

Updated poetry references which aren’t racist would also be a bonus. Lol & we’re not 12.

& it’s not lost on me that you excluded me from your little thing, & your writing in particular, as of late, is so suspiciously in proximity to my style, that it’s embarrassingly uncomfortable…

But go on 🙂

Of laughter

She falls to the floor, continuing to snort with laughter. The dog excitedly wags their tale, content & alert. The room is filled with an air of sparkle & joy.

It hasn’t always been this way. Your eyes crinkle inn glee. You  as animated even more by her pleasurable reactions.

You go on with the story. Something about a laundry card, a machine & an opinionated onlooker; the anecdote of the day which brought that absurd moment to you here when you needed it.

The story is perhaps less important than the enthusiastic telling, & the much needed break from a long sorrow, a tension of many losses. Here’s a gain. Laughter is always a gain.

© Niliema Karkhanis


For the Word of the Day Challenge prompt: snort


Featured image by  Paweł Czerwiński from Unsplash


The bone machine

Sometimes things catch up with you. Like you weren’t running, but you’re just not where you could feel it all yet.

You put yourself in work, in art, in dreams, in songs, in podcasts, in television, in anything that makes the form of things alter a little. Bends the room. Brings glow.

You pull yourself out of the things that feel good. Things stop hurting because really they hurt too much. Holding onto breath.

Sometimes literally everything is upside down. Gravity a friend & a foe. Like time.

But like it’s when after a while you think ‘maybe I’m better this second’ & then the feels they take ahold of your hand & tell you about how this is it. This is it.

Breathing. The ache of it. One moment in front of another. Making things. Trying for the things you make to be enough. Trying for you to be enough for the things you make.

Then you don’t know. So you eat a snack. You sip caffeine with milk. & the sun beams into your crystalline eyes, remaking you.

Your skin of many lines & changes holding your heart within the bone machine. You absorb the orb’s writing rays.

& that star says ‘I made you, I made you’. Here’s some more of life.

© Niliema Karkhanis

Featured image by Paweł Czerwiński from Unsplash

Pink unicorn: micro-fic

Image by Paweł Czerwiński from Unsplash

The apartment is stifling. No a/c. It is one of the hottest days of a heatwave. Too hot to think. He’s not home at least. You need a few things. You have to leave the little old bright green-eyed grey cat, whom everyone mistakes for a kitten, for now. Only […]

Pink unicorn: micro-fic

© Niliema Karkhanis

Of meaninglessness

Photo by Alexandru Acea from Unsplash

Why are we hurt by certain things when we know our worth is greater than what has been done to us? Of course this is an eternal question.

We do all of the things. Self-care, work-to-avoid, soothe, distract, etc… & yet the pain never goes. It’s always hurt from things that shouldn’t be of such great consequence which is all the more unnerving.

I mean often of course it is a great trauma, & the depths of grief seem an endless traverse. This, however justifies itself through the healing process, because we know it was significant, such as the death of a parent, for example.

Those things though which are blips in our lives, or perhaps hadn’t much to do with us in terms of how we experience them, how we are treated, they can last for too long, our hearts enduring immeasurable suffering as a result.

I suppose that’s exactly the point, the most meaningless things are the most lingering. We put meaning into something relational or structural, & its eternal return happens to be meaninglessness. That’s very problematic on our bodies.

Perhaps there is nothing emptier than giving meaning to life & having it returned as cold confusion & meaninglessness.

Ⓒ Niliema Karkhanis

Flour, salt, water

Photo by Zoë from Unsplash

It was a Saturday afternoon. Animation audio spooling through the aqua, red-roofed bungalow. Cozy.

She would let me play with the dough from whatever bread or baking she was making. She also made play dough for me, adding food colouring. She explains, not for the first time, that the homemade play dough recipe is similar to that for lots of recipes, like poori, for example. 

She’d let me play with the poori dough too, always in a good mood when she fried dough for bread, which she would do, singing.

She would say that the home-made play dough was as good as the store bought kind, & she wasn’t wrong. She knew things. She was confident about that. It made me love the pink dough & the blue dough the most. She made them for me after all. Me at the kitchen table making art. Her making our life.

Small tree sculptures from

Flour, water, salt & love

Outside, wind sounds spring


For this week’s dverse Haibun prompt A walk down memory lane.

 Ⓒ Niliema Karkhanis

You can take that love & do something wonderful with it 💜

Photo by
Andreas Wohlfahrt
from Pexels

Something stolen like that has to be remade or returned. It has to be taken & reinspired or it has to be reciprocated. One, the other or some. But not none.

It wasn’t love meant for me. & broken-hearted, I come to accept this.

Let it multiply in quantum even when you can’t feel it.

You can take that love & do something splendourous with it.

I hoped some form of friendship, love could find me in my sickness. I have arrived on my own, that’s how I’ll leave.

Sometimes love is a gift given. A gift received. Sometimes it is taken. & I have to accept that.

Sometimes love is about the taking & in the end in the midst of the circles of things, you leave yourself to be. You push yourself away & you hold yourself close until you can make it again.

© Niliema Karkhanis