Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (June 7, 1917 to December 3, 2000) was born in Topeka, Kansas. Based in Chicago, she graduated from Wilson Junior College there (1936) and was publicity director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Chicago (1930s). She taught at many institutions and succeeded Carl Sandburg as poet laureate of Illinois (1968). Her verse narrative Annie Allen (1949) won the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to an African-American woman (1950). She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1985 to 1986.
She also received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation. She lived in Chicago until her death.
In the following Video Ms. Brooks speaks to fellow poet
E. Ethelbert Miller
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Publisher: Third World Press (October 1, 1991)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.3 inches
Here is a necessary collection of poetry for admirers of words and treasurers of literary beauty. Spanning more than 30 years, this collection of literary masterpieces by the venerable Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks, arguably Illinois' most beloved Poet Laureate and Chicago's elder black literary stateswoman, Blacks includes all of Ms. Brooks' critically acclaimed writings. Within its covers is the groundbreaking "Annie Allen," which earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. There is also the sweepingly beautiful and finely crafted "A Street in Bronzeville," a highly anticipated and lauded poetic treasure that spoke volumes for this great poet's love of black people, Chicago's Black community, and even the community of the world. Blacks includes a special treat, Maud Martha, Brooks' only novel.
Boys and Girls
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Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Amistad; Reprint edition (December 26, 2006)
Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches
In 1956, Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks created a collection of poems that celebrated the joy, beauty, imagination, and freedom of childhood. She reminded us that whether we live in the Bronzeville section of Chicago or any other neighborhood, childhood is universal in its richness of emotions and experiences. And now a brand-new generation of readers will savor Ms. Brooks's poems in this stunning reillustrated edition that features vibrant paintings by Caldecott Honor artist Faith Ringgold.
Essential Brooks Unabridged CD
Publisher: Caedmon; Unabridged edition (January 24, 2006)
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks reads 27 of her best poems, including "Do Not Be Afraid of No," "The Bean Eaters," "Riot," and "The Sermon on the Warpland," in a quiet, forceful manner that underscores the raw vigor of her writing, centered on the daily lives of black people in bleak cities. The recording bursts with the cutting observation and warm humor that have made Brooks one of the most celebrated poets of her time.
The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks (American Poets Project)
Elizabeth Alexander (Editor)
Format: Hardcover, 200pp
Pub. Date: October 2005
Publisher: Library of America
Brings together the best work from three earlier books now out of print, and includes poems not previously published in book form.
The classic volume by the distinguished modern poet and winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize that represents her technical mastery, her compassionate and illuminating response to a world that is both special and universal, and her warm humanity.
Gwendolyn Brooks: Poetry Is Life Distilled
Christine M. Hill
Format: Hardcover, 48pp
Pub. Date: March 2005
Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
Age Range: Young Adult
School Library Journal, Gr 5-8
These clearly written, factual biographies emphasize the integrity and determination that led to each individual's success. Each title begins with a vignette about the subject's adulthood before turning to a chronological recounting of important people, events, and accomplishments in their lives. Brooks moves beyond dates and facts to help readers understand the poet's personality, important relationships, and philosophies. All of the books include the subjects' encounters with and responses to racism, as well as the careers/talents that bolstered their confidence and resolve to succeed. Orange sidebars provide historical background on such topics as affirmative action, segregation, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Great Migration. Green boxes provide extrapolated or additional material. The captioned color photos add to the visual appeal; those that are black and white offer a glimpse into early- and mid-20th-century America. Although Brooks exceeds the quality of the other two books in both organization and writing style, all three are valuable contributions to general collections.
'Julie R. Ranelli, Episcopal Center for Children, Washington, DC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Gwendolyn Brooks' Maud Martha: A Critical Edition
Format: Paperback, 196pp
Pub. Date: October 2001
Publisher: Third World Press
Originally published in 1953, Maud Martha, Gwendolyn Brooks' only novel, captures the essence of Black life.
Initially entitled "American Family Brown" the work would eventually come to symbolize some of Brooks' most provocative writing. In a novel that captures the essence of Black life, Brooks recognizes the beauty and strength that lies within each of us.
In Montgomery and Other Poems
Format: Hardcover, 120pp
Pub. Date: September 2003
Publisher: Third World Press
The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, Brooks (1917-2000) moved from early, formally intricate verse about American life, through a brilliantly jagged free verse attuned to the turbulence of the late 1960s, into a populist hortatory style that reached a very wide audience. Brooks prepared this new-and-selected volume shortly before her death; its titular sequence, published in Ebony in 1971, has never appeared in book form. That sequence praises Alabama's civil rights workers, incorporating their speech and giving the flavor and the micro-history of that important period as few other poets could. The selection concludes with the pivotal, and critically admired, long poem "In the Mecca" (1968), a harrowing narrative set in a Chicago housing project. The rest of the book collects poems from Brooks's later phase, many of them about or addressed to the young; the sequence "Children Coming Home" consists of short, moving verse-monologues by boys and girls from Chicago's South Side. Other poems praise named individuals, from the social reformer Jane Addams to a deceased child to Danny Glover ("Danny Glover is/ a good poem"). An ode to Winnie Mandela ("the She of our vision, the Code") appears now as Brooks's last ambitious work, and includes a deservedly proud mission statement: "We blue-print/ not merely our survival but a flowering." (Oct.) Forecast: Because it is in effect a memorial volume, and because it includes poems not in Brooks's 1987 collected Blacks, this volume could inspire widespread reviews: much depends on the distribution Third World (Brooks's publisher since the 1980s) achieves. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The African American Audio Experience
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Format: Compact Disc - Abridged, 5 CDs
Pub. Date: January 2003
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
One of the most significant occurrences in America during the 20th century was the rise of African-American writers to the forefront of literature. Documenting their views on American culture and its tragic and glorious history, African-American writers' contributions reflected their struggle for equality and paved the way into a brighter future for their country. This collection includes selections of some of the best of those works, with an original introduction by Nikki Giovanni:
Black Boy by Richard Wright. A classic of American autobiography, this subtly crafted narrative chronicles one man's coming of age in the Jim Crow South. Performed by Brock Peters.
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. An emotionally lacerating landmark of American theater, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun is presented here with a full cast performance starring Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.
Excerpts from The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. A collection of poems from one of the most commanding voices to grace America's political and poetic landscape. Read by the author.
Excerpts from the "Tall Tales" Chapter of Every Tounge Got to Confess by Zora Neale Hurston. Collected in the 1920s, these stories pay tribute to the richness of Black vernacular and reflect -- with wit, wisdom, compassion, and style -- the sorrows and joys of the African-American heritage. Performed by Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.
Excerpts from Langston Hughes Reads. Arare and exceptional recording on one of the greatest American poets of the 20th century.
Three poems by Gwendolyn Brooks. "We Real Cool," "Malcolm X," and "The Sermon on the Warpland." Performed by Ruby Dee.
Poems By Gwendolyn Brooks
We Real Cool
The Pool Players
Seven at the Golden Shovel
We real cool. We
Left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We
Jazz June. We
Sadie and Maud
Maud went to college.
Sadie stayed home.
Sadie scraped life
With a fine toothed comb.
She didn't leave a tangle in
Her comb found every strand.
Sadie was one of the livinigest chits
In all the land.
Sadie bore two babies
Under her maiden name.
Maud and Ma and Papa
Nearly died of shame.
When Sadie said her last so-long
Her girls struck out from home.
(Sadie left as heritage
Her fine-toothed comb.)
Maud, who went to college,
Is a thin brown mouse.
She is living all alone
In this old house.
The Bean Eaters
They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair,
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room
that is full of beads and receipts and dolls and
cloths, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.
The Crazy Woman
I shall not sing a May song.
A May song should be gay.
I'll wait until November
And sing a song of gray.
I'll wait until November
That is the time for me.
I'll go out in the frosty dark
And sing most terribly.
And all the little people
Will stare at me and say,
"That is the Crazy Woman
Who would not sing in May."
Other Books by Gwendolyn Brooks
Blacks Gwendolyn Brooks - Paperback
Bronzeville Boys & Girls with Ronni Solbert (Illustrator) - Hardcover
Near Johannesburg Boy & Other Poems Gwendolyn Brooks / Paperback
The Poetry of Black America: Anthology of the Twentieth Century with Arnold Adoff (Editor) - Hardcover
Report from Part Two - Paperback
Riot - Paperback
The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves: Or What You Are You Are with Timothy Jones (Illustrator) - Paperback
To Disembark Gwendolyn Brooks - Paperback
A Capsule Course in Black Poetry Writing: A New Chicago Anthology with, Haki R. Madhubuti, K. Kgositsile,D. Randall - Paperback
Primer for Blacks Gwendolyn Brooks - Paperback