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Selected Poems Paperback – July 3, 2006
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About the Author
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Annie Allen and one of the most celebrated African American poets. She was Poet Laureate for the state of Illinois, a National Women's Hall of Fame inductee, and a recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts. She received fifty honorary degrees. Her other books include A Street in Bronzeville, In the Mecca, The Bean Eaters, and Maud Martha.
Top Customer Reviews
Almost 40 years after the renaissance, Brooks (1917-2000) wrote this poem about Langston Hughes:
Langston Hughes (1963)
is merry glory.
Yet grips his right of twisting free.
Has a long reach,
In the eye of the vulture
In the compression—
In mud and blood and sudden death—
In the breath
Of the holocaust he
Is helmsman, hatchet, headlight.
One restless in the exotic time! and ever,
Till the air is cured of its fever.
Born in Topeka, Kansas, Brooks spent virtually her entire life in Chicago. Her parents, a janitor and a schoolteacher, enouraged her desire for reading and writing. She published her first poem at 13, and her first poetry collection at 28. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1950; she was 33 and the first African-American to win any Pulitzer Prize. Later she became the first African-American woman to become consultant to the Library of Congress (which we now call Poet Laureate).Read more ›
Gwendolyn Brooks delivers a collection of outstanding poetry of the deepest level that had even this humble poet amazed, confused, bedazzled, in search of a dictionary and overall enamoured by the breadth of magnificent words and stories that are shared by the remarkable writer.
The future of poetry feels more secure when I happily muse about the masses of writers that Gwendolyn Brooks has inspired and still will inspire.
In the spirit of Carl Sandburg and Langston Hughes, and occasionally, Robert Frost, her poetry meets the reader head-on. However, to Brooks' credit, and what makes her a great poet, is she sees the big picture, just her greatly skilled colleagues listed above.
Brooks was black. She neither hid it, nor would be ashamed that I said so. Many of her poems revolved around the issues impacting African Americans, both the responsibility they have, as well as an acknowledgment of the difficulties they endure because of racism and cultural differences.
Her poems will survive (and are worth reading today) because they were not shackled to the political milieu of the day. What she wrote in the 1940s, when racism was bolder and more detrimental than today, matters.
She was current, yet eternal. Even though "The Last Quatrain of the Ballad of Emmett Till" refers to a young man murdered decades ago, the reader without that context will still appreciate its common-spoken depth (her indents are diminished in my copy below because of the software to post this):
after the murder,
after the burial
Emmett's mother is a pretty-faced thing;
the tint of pulled taffy.
She sits in a red room,
drinking black coffee.
She kisses her killed boy.
And she is sorry.
Chaos in windy grays
through a red prairie.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was in great quality, however the packaging is a bit tedious! You really have to work for it with all that unraveling, none the less, it's a great copy!Published 16 months ago by Diana
These are amazing beautiful poems from a gifted poet. A must for your personal library collection.Published 19 months ago by Bartholomew Roberts