Sherman Alexie And Jonathan Lethem: Poem Analysis

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In their recent work, Sherman Alexie and Jonathan Lethem have offered harsh critiques of the literary communities for their efforts to hinder the progress of art. The authors, however, address the issues from different perspectives: While Alexie in The Introduction I Meant to Write attacks nepotism in poetical circles, Lethem in The Ecstasy of Influence argues against the appropriation of the culture by artists and corporations.
An Alexie claim that “Nepotism is as common as oxygen” rests upon the assumption that “white poets have helped their white friends [and] brown poets have helped their brown friends because of nepotism.” By doing so, talented artists who do not belong to a certain group, face exclusion from widely spread publications, which in turn shrinks the pool of literary culture. Adding to Alexie’s argument, Latham points out that “the primary motivation for the participating in the world of culture [is] to make the world larger.,” which is the opposite of what is going on nowadays. Latham expands upon this idea by adding the copyright issue. Latham’s point is that copyright became a mechanism of cultural suppression as it overlooks the beauty of second use and potential improvements.
I agree that
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Alexie would never paid attention to the poem if he was not intrigued by the identity of the poet. As Alexie himself puts it, “I’d briefly wondered about the life story of a Chinese American [] and then I tossed the poem in the “maybe” pile.” This brings me to the next question: Should the poets enhance the meaning and/or beauty of their poems by adopting imaginary identities inspired by ethnic groups, cultures, or events? Is it stealing from those groups if they do not like the composition; is it promoting those cultures if that shines a good light on them? Hudson may have stolen Chinese identity, but In my opinion, breaking the rules only enhances the cultural world.

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