Who was Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr.?

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Author: Julian Mason
Date: Fall 1990
From: The Southern Literary Journal(Vol. 23, Issue 1)
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Document Type: Book review
Length: 864 words

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Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr.: Complete Poems. Ed. James Robert Payne. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990. Pp. 185.

At the 1990 meeting of the American Literature Association in San Diego, the editor of this book was on a panel on editing black writers. The discussion part of the session was consumed mostly with questions from the audience (including those who were black) about why they had not heard of Joseph S. Cotter, Jr. (1895-1919) before. This book, which was then so recently published that the library of its editor's university had not yet received its copy, should help to keep that phenomenon from occurring again.

However, such questioning in San Diego was predictable, for although six poems by Cotter had been included in James Weldon Johnson's The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922), four of the same six and two others in Countee Cullen's Caroling Dusk (1927), two in Brown, Davis, and Lee's The Negro Caravan (1941), and two in Hughes and Bontemps' The Poetry of the Negro (1949), Cotter is not represented in Arna Bontemps' American Negro Poetry (1963), in Dudley Randall's The Black Poets (1971), or in most of the anthologies of black writing published in the 1970s and since which are oriented toward academic audiences. Arthur Davis' From the Dark Tower: Afro-American Writers...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A89390396