- "What are the books that have been balls of light for you?"
- "Do you have key books that have influenced you?"
- "If you were to create a lineage of key influences on your work, now, looking back on your evolution as a writer, who would you pick?"
- "Do you read other poets? Are there particular poets who you read, or do you read when you are writing?"
- "So there are no specific writers who really influenced how you write in particular?" (Seriously.)
Each time she dodges. Finally she admits that she doesn't read poetry, because she doesn't "want to get tied up in somebody else's vision": "I try to make sure I don't get influenced." The kicker is that then Frazier, who has really painted himself into a corner here, has to pretend that's some big new idea ("That's a really interesting perspective...") when he's probably been arguing with students on this point for fifteen years. I mean that is classic freshman overactive anxiety of influence right there.
I mean, who cares if she reads poetry; she's Nikki Giovanni. I just find it hilarious that Frazier pushed the issue so hard.