On the Best American Poetry blog, Sherman Alexie explains the process of guest-editing Best American Poetry 2015. He also addresses a controversy that's swirling around the book:
I chose a strange and funny and rueful poem written by Yi-Fen Chou, which turns out to be a Chinese pseudonym used by a white male poet named Michael Derrick Hudson as a means of subverting what he believes to be a politically correct poetry business.
Alexie talks about the process of selection, how he felt when he found out Yi-Fen Chou was a ruse, and why you'll still find the controversial poem in the book when it's published this fall. Alexie is taking a lot of heat for this decision, but you can't accuse him of obfuscating the process. His transparency in the face of this controversy — did poetry really need its own Hugo Awards-style mess? — is to be commended, even if you disagree with his decision.
And if you're a white male writer who is complaining about political correctness as a roadblock to your success, let this white male offer you a piece of advice: putting on another culture like a Halloween costume is not going to win you friends or fans. It's not going to prove a point. It's just going to make people furious at you, and rightfully so. And in the years and decades to come if you're ever remembered at all, it will be as the white male writer who pretended to be another race because he was a total asshole and on the wrong side of history. That's not a legacy, it's just a stinkbomb tossed into a room full of unsuspecting and well-intentioned people.