In a message dated Tue, 28 Aug 2001 9:05:39 PM Eastern Daylight Time, "Nancy Gish" <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> Phyllis Wheatley was a woman. She was fortunate to have been taught to
> read and write: most slaves were not, and indeed it became illegal to teach
> them to read. It's hard to write poems when you can't read or write and it is
> illegal to teach you. Wheatley did have those advantages. But she wrote
> the poetry of her time as educated poets wrote it--heroic couplets with
> somewhat conventional views (not surprising given what she had available);
> she was, however, the first Black poet whose work was preserved in
> Americ. Her poetry is very much part of a written, literary tradition, not an
> oral one.
This was called to my attention off-line. As I said then: Well, at least I confirmed that I wasn't engaging in evasion or false modesty in denying familiarity. I guess "Phyllis" is just one of those confusing, androgynous names.