Last week it came to our attention that two of the poems awarded the 2019 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize had phrases that were taken from other poets’ work and not acknowledged. The poems are both by Peter Ogun (aka Ojo Taiye), who was awarded a Winning position for “There Is Nothing You Can Do To Replace My Fada,” and a Finalist position for “My Little Cousin Came to America Armed with Just a Few Phone Numbers & Four English Words – ‘I Am a Refugee’.”
Mr. Ogun brought this matter to our attention, and for that we appreciate his honesty. He emailed us to state, “I am really sorry I betrayed your trust.”
Cultural Weekly stands for creative voices, the uniqueness of each person’s contribution, and resolutely for the importance of acknowledging the authenticity of an artist’s work. This is especially vital for poets, whom our society gives so little in the way of accord or remuneration: poets’ work and the publication of it is, for most, the grandest compensation.
Accordingly, we have rescinded the winning and finalist prizes from Mr. Ogun. We have updated the post announcing the 2019 winners to omit his name and poems, and we have unpublished the poems themselves.
Photo: Patrick Tomasso