Jimmy Santiago Baca is a American poet of Indio-Mexican descent, and the winner of multiple literary prizes. In an interview, he tells the story of his first exposure to English poetry. He was serving time in juvenile detention, and got a hold of a copy of Wordsworth. He was captivated, but didn’t understand all of the 18th/19th century lexicon. This is the part of the story that I found interesting:
There is a body of scholarship that examines dictionaries as both tools for promoting emergent national identities and, alternatively, as tools of exclusion and expressions of linguistic (and, by implication social and political) authority.
However, his framing of bookstores as sites of colonial power and as inaccessible to those outside of mainstream (or dominant) culture is something that I don’t think as received a lot of attention (or at least a quick search on Google Scholar doesn’t turn up much).
For the rest of the interview, listen here.