Katie Allen in The Bookseller
A row has broken out over a Remembrance Day poem written by Sir Andrew Motion after a military historian claimed the former poet laureate had "lazily ripped off" his work, reports the Times.
Ben Shephard, the author of A War of Nerves, has claimed that the poet had used "sexy soundbites" from his work in his poem "An Equal Voice", written as a tribute to war veterans in the Guardian this Saturday.
Motion defended his poem, which uses quotes from soldiers and psychiatrists compiled by Shephard, as a stitching together of voices of shell-shocked people, from a variety of sources, into "a poem by them, orchestrated by me". He said of Shephard: "He doesn't get it, does he?
"This is ridiculous . . . To blow off about it like he has done completely misunderstands what found poetry is. It has a long pedigree, which he seems not to be aware of."In the introduction to his poem, Motion points out that its title is a direct quotation from Shephard and refers to his history book. "It is the case that it does give a bit more publicity for his book which has been out for eight years," he said. "It's not for me to say whether he should be grateful for that. I have done absolutely nothing that is underhand."
Shephard said: "What Motion actually stitched together were 17 passages from my book A War of Nerves: the 'voices from a variety of sources' were not 'found' by Motion, but by myself. . .
"There is a word for this. It begins with 'p' and it isn't poetry." said Shephard.
Full report from The Times .