Texas Woman of Letters, Karle Wilson Baker
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Series Editor’s Foreword
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Karle Wilson Baker was one of the most recognized and honored poets in Texas in the twentieth century, and Sarah Ragland Jackson’s biography of her literary life witnesses that claim. Ask most people today, however, and they will not have heard of her. Born to be a writer, Karle Wilson had a fire in her belly to write and found inspiration to fan those flames in deep East Texas after her parents moved from Little Rock to Nacogdoches in 1901. Her story, ably told, reveals the making of a writer, of a woman capable of balancing the ...
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When my husband and I moved to Nacogdoches more than three decades ago, I heard right away about a local writer of children’s books, Charlotte Baker Montgomery. Soon afterward I met Charlotte and became interested in her books. I learned that Charlotte’s mother, Karle Wilson Baker, had been a local writer as well. Only later as I pursued my own research on the poetry of Robert Frost did I uncover information that Frost had spoken in Nacogdoches in 1933 at the invitation of Karle Wilson Baker. Following that lead, ...
1. The Early Years
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Karle Wilson Baker’s lifelong love of East Texas began when she first arrived in the sleepy village of Nacogdoches in 1901. In a public speech after she had become a national literary figure, she commented:
2. The Poet Emerges
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Even though Karle Wilson Baker had confided in her diary in September 1913 that she was “a writing person,” she had to confront the reality that with her children, Tomby and Charlotte, ages five and three, family life demanded most of her attention.1 She frequently composed short lyrics, but she never could find enough uninterrupted time for a long prose work. She also supported the interests of her husband and her father, who were active in the ...
3. To Fill My Place The SFA Years
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When the Board of Regents came to dedicate Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College on April 30, 1924, the Rotary Club sponsored a luncheon in the board’s honor. A. W. Birdwell, the president of the college, chose Karle Wilson Baker to be a major speaker on the program; she read her recently completed ballad “Within the Alamo” and “The Pine Tree Hymn,” the poem she had written the year before honoring the new college.1 Baker was further recognized ...
4. The State and the Writer Come of Age
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In 1935, “Family Style” was still unpublished, but as she waited for a publisher, Karle Wilson Baker continued to write about Texas. With more time for writing after she left teaching, Baker returned to the project “A Hundred Miles of Memories,” which she had abandoned to write about the East Texas oil field. On September 25, Henry Smith, a new editor for the Southwest Review, wrote to Baker asking her to contribute to a proposed special Texas ...
5. The Creative Process
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In January 1938, Karle Wilson Baker wrote in her diary about serious backaches and rheumatism, but by February, she noted that she was working on her second novel, “A Letter from Jamie” (later titled Star of the Wilderness.)1 February also looked like a promising month for “The Reindeer’s Shoe.” The Henry Holt Company was looking at the manuscript, and Karle Wilson Baker’s literary agent, Sydney Sanders, was trying to get motion picture ...
6. Full Circle
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Baker knew that at some point the writer must draw a final line, plan a final period, and end a work, but the researcher always finds one more piece of information to add, one piece that he finds, perhaps regrettably, too late. Discovering new material might have been the driving force that pushed Baker to write yet another novel at the age of sixty-four. She briefly described that work in a letter to a reviewer at the Cokesbury Bookstore: “It Blows from the ...
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Writings of Karle Wilson Baker
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 7 b&w photos. 4 drawings. 1 illus.
Publication Year: 2005
Series Title: Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Commerce