All that having been said, that c.c. and On Spec have succumbed to readings (with a few exceptions, of course) that circumvent the way they ask to be read is not at all surprising. I want to be clear here. I am not rejecting in toto those writers who have and do dramatize, lyricize, and mythologize African American and, more generally, American life; this is not about a kind of raised-fist leftist or wing-tipped rightist totalitarianism. But it is also not about a glad-handed, liberal totalitarianism, the reduction of African American creative productivity to a handful of “recognizable” “topics,” “tropes,” and “strategies” (I winced at a negative review of On Spec—not because of the criticisms per se, which I have included on my website—but because the reviewer bemoaned the paucity of poems that showcased my “raw talent”).