The culturally specific, in particular, the American porch play that American writers have cherished and loved for many years in terms of their new writing, has seemed to have very little relevance to a much more fast-flowing, abstract, experimental drama that has been emerging in [the UK]. The porch play, not to mention that thing of, Oops, I wasn't loved enough by my father, somehow didn't have the relevance in this country.
I've had the good fortune to read a lot of great American writers in translation, and my absolute beloved, for me one of the greatest writers ever, is Mark Twain. Yes, yes, yes. And Whitman, from whom the whole of 20th-century poetry sprung up. Whitman was the origin of things, someone with a completely different outlook. But I think that he's the father of the new wave in the world's poetry which to this very day is hitting the shore.
Sixty percent of all Indians live in urban areas, but nobody's writing about them. They're really an underrepresented population, and the ironic thing is very, very few of those we call Native American writers actually grew up on reservations, and yet most of their work is about reservations.
I do feel fortunate to have some knowledge of the great Latin American writers, including some that are probably not that well known in English. Im thinking of Jose Maria Arguedas, whom I read when I was living in Lima, and who really impacted the way I viewed my country.
I'm one of the few Black writers, or African American writers, who managed to work my way through the system so that it has allowed me to speak in a kind of free way. But most African American writers don't have that. They don't have that opportunity, they don't have that.
It is in this matter that I fall foul of so many American writers on writing; they seem to think that writing is a confidence game by means of which the author cajoles a restless, dull-witted, shallow audience into hearing his point of view. Such an attitude is base, and can only beget base prose.
Ten Little Indians once again shows [Alexie] to be not just one of the West’s best, but one of the most brilliantly literate American writers, even funnier than Louise Erdrich, even more primal than Jim Harrison, and even more eloquent than Annie Proulx.