Twitter Fights & a Vulgar Poetry Contest: Your Weekly Lit News Roundup by Emily Ramser

False Plagiarism Accusations Against Shaun King Hit the Twitter-Sphere

On April 19, The Daily Beast published a report on the death of Elliot Williams by Kate Briquelet. Later that day, The New York Daily News published a column about William’s death by Shaun King. When people began reading the article they noticed that two of the paragraphs in King’s article were the exact same as Briquelet’s, even down to a misspelling. Immediately, many assumed that King had plagiarized Briquelet’s article and took to Twitter to call attention to this.

However, it turned out that King hadn’t actually plagiarized anything. Actually, he had originally cited and block quoted Briquelet’s article, but the original citation was removed by an editor. The editor responsible was fired soon after.

Though the whole issue has now been solved, it has raised a lot of questions about the concept of online mob journalism and the whole reporting via Twitter without knowing all the facts. Check out Glenn Greenwald’s article on The Intercept on the topic to join the conversation.

Speaking of Twitter, check out the Twitter responses to Curtis Sittenfield’s interview.


Are Romance Novels “Badly Written?”

Novelist Curtis Sittenfield called out the romance genre in a recent interview saying that “most romances are badly written.” Sittenfield’s comment comes as she is preparing to release her own novel, a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Authors such as crime writer Jane Casey, Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, and even Neil Gaiman have responded via Twitter to Sittenfield’s comment.

Casey’s response both called out Sittenfield’s rudeness while also providing a sense of understanding:

“Eek. Writers, try not to be rude about other writers especially if you are borrowing their genre. I’d say the vast majority of romance writers are exceptionally good at maintaining suspense & characterization or NO ONE WOULD READ THEM.”

Casey added, “if you’re lucky enough to get to write in a different genre, be grateful, humble, respectful and aware that journalists love controversy.”

She continued, “I should say I’ve read interviews with myself and cringed. You don’t get to control or approve what is eventually printed.”

What do you think of Sittenfield’s commentary on the romance drama? Do you agree with it? Let us know in the comments.

In a similar vein of controversy, there’s an intriguing and incredibly controversial poetry competition happening in Britain right now.


Submit to the “President Erdogan Insulting Poetry Competition” and Win £1,000. 

The contest, started by Douglas Murray from the British magazine, The Spectator, came about after German Comedian Jan Böhmermann read a poem on German television mocking the Turkish president. Afterward, the Turkish government complained, and the comedian is now going to be tried, in Germany, for being “rude” about a foreign despot. Murray decided to start the contest in honor of Böhmermann, as he feels that Böhmermann’s trial is an attack on free speech. He even wrote his own limerick to get started in which he smears both President Erdoğan and Germany. I would show you it here, but it is way beyond PG appropriate. I’m not joking. It’s pretty foul in subject matter—though wonderfully written.

The contest’s only requirements are that the poems must be “wholly defamatory” and “utterly obscene” towards Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey. Special preference is given to limericks. Submissions should be sent to, under the heading ‘The President Erdoğan Offensive Poetry Competition’ by June 23, 2016.


Before I go, let me leave you with a selection from Merriam-Webster’s new additions to the dictionary. Merriam-Webster added 2000+ words this April. Being added to the dictionary means that a word has fairly settled in both its meaning and pronunciation and that it is likely to stick around for quite a while.

Here are some interesting ones the Merriam-Webster editors decided to include: 

bitcoin n: a digital currency created for use in peer-to-peer online transactions 

cisgender n: of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth 

cold case n: an unsolved criminal investigation (as of a homicide or abduction) that has stopped being actively pursued because of a lack of evidence 

cold turkey n: abrupt complete cessation without medication of the use of drugs by a drug addict 

dox transitive verb, slang: to publicly identify or publish private information about (someone) especially as a form of punishment or revenge 

fit and flare adj: fitted through the waist and flaring out at or below the hips 

FOMO n, informal: fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing

genderqueer n: of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity cannot be categorized as solely male or female 

hella adv, slang: very, extremely 

nomophobia n: fear of being without access to a working cell phone 

urban fantasy n: a genre of imaginative fiction featuring supernatural characters or elements in an urban setting 

waggle dance n: a series of figure-eight movements performed by a bee to indicate the direction and abundance of a distant food source

Emily Ramser is an undergraduate studying English, Creative Writing, and Religion at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing, and is expected to graduate in May of 2017. Some of her inspirations include Thornton Wilder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bhanu Kapil, Andrea Gibson, Gabriel Gudding, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Gail Simone, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Check out her black out poetry collection I Forgot How to Write When They Diagnosed Me. You can find more of her work at her blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s