The editors of the Oxford English Dictionary have gathered
numerous definitions of the word equity, most of them relating
to the law, from "the recourse to general principles of justice
to correct or supplement common and statute law" to "the value
of a mortgaged property after deducting charges and claims against
it." It's fascinating that the one definition listed as
"long rare" is the most simple, the most potentially explosive.
This definition tells us that equity is "that which is fair and
right." This definition implies that under our shifting, and sometimes
cynical, cultural formalities there may be a bedrock of something
It is Luis Francia who introduced me to the term "cultural equity,"
which he had recently learned on an Academy of American Poets
tour of California. I had complained to him that the term "multicultural"
seemed inadequate to describe the value of a literary festival
that would offer twelve writers, one of them the premiere poet
of West-Indian culture, three of them African American, two
of them Native American, one each Filipino and Filipina, one
Hispanic, one whose poetry has enlarged the existing canon by
a refusal to let meaning give in to rigidity, one who finds
the human on America's wide plains and, finally, one who finds
the human on the wide plains of the Bronx. Yet the previous
sentence, long as it is, only begins to describe the rich diversity
of these writers.
What is fair and right about this group of artists is a very
potent mixture of their unswerving loyalties to the crafts which
they practice, their care for the talent that has been granted
to them, their fidelity to their homelands, and their
involvement in a new world order that is as fertile and various
as the imagination itself. Enjoy!
We are also pleased to announce the inception of The Associated
Writing Programs/Old Dominion University International Writers
Center at Old Dominion University. This organization will
work to promote awareness of international issues, cultures,
and writers in American creative writing programs and it will
facilitate international exchanges of writers and students.
Watch for more information about this exciting project.