Letter of the Week

Stolen word

I am the Kevin McGee referred to in Ed Park's plagiarism piece "Mehta Fiction" [Voice Literary Supplement, May 24–30]. In my senior year of high school I submitted three stolen pieces of literature to Ed's magazine for reasons that I don't understand—it wasn't for a grade and certainly wasn't for money. Regardless, the legacy of those pieces affected both my writing and work ethic in years to come for one simple reason: They meant nothing to me. I did not create them. They weren't my ideas, and therefore I experienced no pride or growth from their creation. The irony is that my writing improved. I've since written and published professional and recreational work as well as written several hundreds of pages of creative work that I never show anyone. I actually enjoy writing and, as a consequence, have never felt the urge to repeat the hollow process of copying. The frightening aspect is that this might not be the case today, had my 18-year-old brain been rewarded with a large sum of money from those works instead of self-induced meditation on the value of wasted time.

Kevin McGee
Healdsburg, California

Park's article is by far the best cultural commentary on and analysis of the sad and pathetic affair of Kaavya Viswanathan. My own two cents: The titles of the two plagiarized Megan McCafferty novels are also revealing, in the sense of the practice itself of plagiarizing: Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings. Everyone who has written about this affair has missed this.

Biodun Iginla
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Destabilizing forces

Re Kristen Lombardi's "Pushed Off the Pinnacle" [May 24–30]: New York City courts are more pro-tenant than any other courts in the U.S. If people are being evicted from Pinnacle apartments, it is with cause. The best gauge on whether or not a landlord is good is the number of violations per unit. One violation per unit in Harlem is outstanding. The Voice is dragging the good guy through the mud. If you pay your rent and are legally there, you get to stay. Where else in the country are renters afforded such rights? If tenants can't afford to pay, they have to move; what's so new about this concept? In other cities if the landlord doesn't like you for any reason, he/she simply doesn't renew your lease. It's not so here, so landlords get stuck with terrible tenants who have no incentive to become good ones. I'm tired of paying jacked-up rents because rent stabilization creates a scarcity of market-rate apartments. We should eliminate all stabilized apartments. Simply put, rent stabilization protects the few at the expense of the many.

Douglas Peterson

I can't fully express my appreciation for Lombardi's Pinnacle article. As a native New Yorker, I have felt a great deal of anger and impotence observing neighborhoods becoming gentrified, to the detriment of blacks, Hispanics, and low-income New Yorkers. Please continue to print pieces such as this one.

Kerry McLean

Variety, not volume

Re Cortney Harding's "Give Noise a Chance" [May 17–23]: Am I to understand that musical-artist opposition to the war has become so widespread that we need to trim our ranks based on decibel output? The fight against rabid corporate capitalism had better have many voices, especially as we are canaries in the cross-cultural coal mine called New York. Here we are all minorities. So how do we all get along to change the world? By making one musical genre/culture more appropriate than another for voicing dissatisfaction with the status quo? I don't think so. I have my own pictures in my head but work consciously to stretch the borders of my musical appreciation to include a feeling for the outrage expressed by others in formats that are not on my Top 10.

Uffe Surland van Tams

The Old Poetry

This style of poetry [The New Poetry, Voice Literary Supplement, May 24–30] is anything but new, and it is offensive and thoughtless for Joshua Clover to call Kevin Davies's style of poetry original when so many poets have done it before. It was people like Robert Bly and James Wright who developed the style that is now known as leaping poetry, wherein the contents of each line or stanza very seldom have anything to do with each other. And more recently, a poet named Michael Teig put out a book that is deadly similar to the style in which Davies writes. There have been hundreds poets who have perfected the voice of this "new poetry." The point of this style is to suggest that poetry can be studied the same way as an abstract expressionist painting, with no certain meaning except the one you find in it. It seems unfair to other poets to label Davies's work as a new.

Colin Pope

Already world famous

Re Silke Tudor's "Ready for Take Off" [Loitering, May 24–30]: Just a note to thank the Voice for Tudor's thoughtful introduction of the World Famous *BOB* to those readers who might have missed Tricia Romano's 23 write-ups on her in the past three years (isn't the Voice search engine a marvelous thing?). Good looking out, Silke.

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