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Thursday, September 12, 2013

PMLA (January 1998), pp. 130-131

To the Editor:

Referring to James Russell Lowell's importnce to her, Sandra M. Gilbert wrote in the 1996 Presidential Address (112[1977]:370-79) that "unless I am doing a grave injustice to one of the 103 colleagues who held this office between his tenure and mine, I believe I am the first poet to preside over the MLA since he did" (372). In MLA history, Houston A. Baker, Jr. stands between Lowell and Gilbert. Baker, who has published three books of poetry, was included in my anthology Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African American Poetry (1997) because he is one of our most accomplished poet-critics. Gilbert's claim in not necessarily a grave injustice but an oversight to be corrected.

Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
Tougaloo College

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