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Themes

The speaker is totally plugged into the New York City arts and cultural scene. He also follows the latest global trends, such as experimental French theater and the up-and-coming African literary movements. It's ironic that he would name all of these examples of "high culture" in a poem about a so-called "popular" art form – jazz. The poem seems to make the case that Holiday's work belongs right up there with the big players of world culture.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Does the speaker agree that there is a distinction between high and low culture?
  2. How is jazz treated differently from other art forms in the poem? How are the speaker's reactions different?
  3. Would you trust the speaker to give you a good book recommendation? Why or why not?
  4. Do the artistic allusions in the poem actually mean anything, or are they just coincidental?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The speaker is a slave to the fads and trends of high culture.

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