Alice Walker's merits

The editorial "Black Concerns and the White House," July 26, shows every evidence of suffering from the same shortsighted, intolerant orthodoxies about which President Bush expressed concern in his University of Michigan speech.To be specific, it refers to the administration's championing of Carol Iannone as a member of an advisory panel of the National Endowment for the Humanities as a questionable decision related to civil rights and race because she attacked the literary merits of Alice Walker. While I have not read Ms. Iannone's comments about Ms. Walker's writing, I recently tried reading Walker's "The Temple of My Familiar." I read only two-thirds of the book. My inability to finish it had nothing to do with the race of t he writer or that of her characters, but rather with a lack of discipline. What she needed was a strong editor to send her back to her word processor and cut out the overgrowth until she was down to one carefully honed piece of fiction. But perhaps Walker's editor was afraid of being charged with being politically incorrect and racist if he or she tried imposing discipline on an out-of-control talent. At least Iannone did not let herself fall prey to such fears. Carol Stoddart, St. Paul, Minn.

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