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dr_pretentious wrote
on August 30th, 2006 at 03:59 am

Cool Proposal--Here's A Practical Suggestion (and a minor ramble)

Cave Canem is an organization that's been extraordinarily successful at, as they put it in their mission statement, the discovery and cultivation of new voices in African American poetry. I think Toi Derricotte, one of Cave Canem's founders, might be willing to have her brain picked about what worked and what didn't.

In my tutoring practice, nearly all of my teenage students are Indian or Chinese, about evenly mixed by gender, and when I ask them what they read for pleasure, all of them name fantasy first, and some of them name science fiction second. To as great an extent as the parents will allow, I assign readings in those genres.

The sense I get is that the current generation of adolescents is is, regardless of ethnicity, so saturated in J.K. Rowling and in the YA fantasy boom that's followed her, we can expect our community to get more diverse over the next couple of decades, no matter what. I hope we can make them feel welcome as they come in. Great literatures require great audiences, and ours could use some new blood. Also, it would be good if we were collectively to plan ahead so as not to be jerks.

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