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Presented by Derek Dreher Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography.

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1 Presented by Derek Dreher Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

2 Gwendolyn Brooks’ Venture into the World of Poetry “I felt that I had to write. Even if I had never been published, I knew that I would go on writing, enjoying it and experiencing the challenge” (Brainyquote.com). This was said by Gwendolyn Brooks, who started to write at a very young age and never stopped until the day she died. The very prestigious and influential poet Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas on June 7, 1917 (“Gwendolyn Brooks” 1). She was the oldest child of her family. Growing up Brooks was very shy, later on in life she addressed this by saying, “I am a writer perhaps because I am not a talker” (Brainyquote.com). Her mother, Keziah Brooks’ profession was teaching kids in rural areas. Her father, David Brooks, worked as a janitor after he couldn’t complete school because of lack of funding (“Gwendolyn Brooks” 1). Brooks didn’t live in Topeka for long; after she was born her family moved to South Side Chicago, Illinois (“Gwendolyn Brooks Biography”, Encyclopedia of World Biography 3). Brooks was an African American woman, so during this time period she saw a lot of racism throughout Chicago. This is where she received much of her influence on what the subject of her poetry would be about. She was a very timid child and didn’t really fit in as a regular kid in Chicago. Her parents were very loving but strict at the same time. They didn’t allow her to go and play with kids from the neighborhood, so she stayed inside and spent most of her time writing (“Gwendolyn Brooks Biography “, Famous Poets and Poems 1). She became very isolated from her peers, so she often created a fantasy world of her own by writing her own poetry or reading poetry of other authors. Brooks’ parents were very supportive and encouraged her writing and wanted her to become a successful poet. They often referred to her as “the female Paul Lawrence Dunbar”, who was a famous African American poet (“Gwendolyn Brooks Biography”, Encyclopedia of World Biography 1). Brooks worked all over Chicago helping out youth groups of African Americans. In 1937 she became the publicity director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Youth Council (“Gwendolyn Brooks” 1). Later on in 1939, she married Henry Blakely with whom she had two children, Henry Jr. and Nora Blakely (“Gwendolyn Brooks Biography”, Famous Poets and Poems 1). In 1941 she began observing poetry workshops at Chicago’s South Side Community Art Center (“Gwendolyn Brooks” 1). Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

3 In 1963 she received her first teaching job at Chicago’s Columbia College (“Gwendolyn Brooks Biography”, Famous Poets and Poems 1). Growing up and living on the South Side of Chicago for her whole life she experienced racism every day until the day she died from cancer on December 3, 2000 (“Gwendolyn Brooks Biography”, Encyclopedia of World Biography 3). Brooks once said,” Look at what's happening in this world. Every day there's something exciting or disturbing to write about. With all that's going on, how could I stop” (Brainyquote.com). With actions like these occurring, she wanted to show the lives of African Americans and what they experienced on a daily basis through her writing. Brooks experienced a lot of racism in her life, so she liked to incorporate that into her poets. Since she had a lot of time to herself as a kid, she spent most of her time inside her house writing as much as she could. She mostly wrote about her life experiences or what she say happening in the world around her. By the age of sixteen, she had over seventy five of her own poems published. After she graduated from high school in 1935, her writing career began to escalate from there. In 1936 she graduated from Wilson Junior College with a degree in English. Brooks became a very prestigious poet. One of many awards the she received was a poetry award from the Midwestern Writer’s Conference in 1943 (“Gwendolyn Brooks” 1). She was the first African American women to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1950 for her group of poems called Annie Allen that she published in 1949, this influenced the African American community.. In her entire poetry career she received over 70 honorary degrees from many associations and colleges. She was also inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame (“Gwendolyn Brooks” 3). She was also the first African American to receive an American Academy of Arts and Letters award in 1976 (“Gwendolyn Brooks Biography”,Famous Poets and Poems 1). In Brooks’ early life she received support from Langston Hughes and James Weldon Johnson whose style influenced hers. Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

4 Like that of Hughes, Brooks liked to focus on the lives of urban blacks who experienced racism and poverty in their lives. The style of her poetry varied widely throughout her career. In the first half of her career, she was mainly concerned with compiling poems that were more traditional and had to be understood by in depth thinking (“Gwendolyn Brooks” 1). During this period of her career she liked to be strict on her word form, and she used intricate word play that the reader really had to decipher to comprehend (“Gwendolyn Brooks Biography”, Encyclopedia of World Biography 2). By the second half of her career, she spent most of her time writing poems that were free verse and used language that urban African Americans could comprehend more easily (“Gwendolyn Brooks” 1). Brooks wanted to change up her tone, be more direct and she wanted to increase the reader’s racial awareness. She did this by switching up her writing style to free verse, and she started to change her vocabulary to vernacular, which would be more understandable for the African American culture (“Gwendolyn Brooks Biography”, Encyclopedia of World Biography 2). She liked to focus on racism, sexism, and classism through the eyes of an African American during her time period (“Gwendolyn Brooks” 2). Brooks made many contributions to her society in Chicago such as, working in many youth centers and encouraged kids in her community to express their feelings through poetry. Brooks also inspired many poets through lecturing, teaching, hosting poetry competitions, reading poetry to the public, and visiting schools; even prisons (“Gwendolyn Brooks” 3). She was a very influential poet, and she said that she has never officially retired from writing. She has inspired many poets, and she has shown the public what it is like to live as an African American through her poems. Brooks was one of the few successful African American poets of her time; she will always be remembered for her outstanding contributions to the public and for being the first African American women to win a Pulitzer Prize. Without the attributions of Brooks through her poetry, the American public would not have understood what it was like to live as an African American in poverty. Through her poetry Brooks has really demonstrated what it is like to be a minority. Which was a word Brooks has a strong hatred toward being called a minority. She once said,” Don't let anyone call you a minority if you're black or Hispanic or belong to some other ethnic group. You're not less than anybody else” (Brainyquote.com). Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

5 The World of Gwendolyn Brooks (1971) Black Steel: Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali (1971) A Broadside Treasury (1971) Jump Bad. (1971) The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves, or What You Really Are, You Really Are (1974) Beckonings (1975) Primer for Blacks (1980) To Disembark (1981) Very Young Poets--Reprints of several works above (1983) Blacks (1987) Children Coming Home (1988) Gottschalk and the Grande Tarantelle (1988) Winnie--Reprint from The Bean Eaters (1988) A Street in Bronzeville (1945) Annie Allen (1949) Maud Martha (1953). The Bean Eaters (1960) In the Mecca Bronzeville Boys and Girls (1956). We Real Cool (1966) Report from Part One (1972) Primer for Blacks (1980) Young Poets' Primer (1981) Mayor Harold Washington and Chicago, the I Will City (1983) Blacks (1987) An Autobiography Riot (1969) Family Picutres. (1970) Aloneness (1971) Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

6 Analysis Poem Introduction Poems Analysis

7 “We Real Cool” “My Dreams, My Works, Must Wait Till After Hell”

8 “Sadie and Maud” “The Crazy Women”

9 by Gwendolyn Brooks 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 livingest chicks 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. (inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks) By Derek Dreher Jim went to school Mark prowled the street Mark went through life Feeling meek He regrets all the ruthless actions he has committed Not one citizen cared for him But one person And that was Jim Mark wanted to break his habits He wanted to pick his life up from the ground With the help of a friend Mark could turn things around Jim’s heart has grown again Friends and enemies have seen Mark change Without the help of his friend He would still be treated like a dog with mange Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

10 by Gwendolyn Brooks 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." (inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks) by Derek Dreher June makes my heart ache Everyone has too much fun I will wait until the fall Days filled with joy will soon be done I will wait until fall This is the time I most enjoy Venturing out on a crispy night And setting out to destroy And all the people in the town Will think about me and say something soon “Darn Old Man Winter I wish it was June Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

11 “The Portentous Beast” “Ode to My Bed” “Things Not Right”

12 by Derek Dreher The prowling cruelty gleams me alone and undiscovered I crave the twilight It leisurely immerses itself into my darkened heart Soon I desire to compose myself and scavenge the shadows The sea of dawn’s light washes away The blissful dream of the obscurity of night On the sun-lit dawn sky, an ominous storm lurked Foreshadowing another day all alone Trying to make it through the daytime To loiter in the night once again Waiting precariously Sleeping unsoundly Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

13 Here I lay tired and drowsy Mind racing Oh bed, why must you be so comfortable? Please take away my daily stressors Do so by using your softness, and warmness You’re always there to clear my head Always curing my sickness and sleeplessness Although you may be old and dusty You are there My soft sheets will protect me like a mother bear and her cub So please take me away on another slumberous night Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography To Original Poems

14 By Derek Dreher Mournful hate Rage inside While will it end Things not right An uncouth mouth Spiteful lingering hatred When will it end? A life to short Sequence never ending A sudden stop when will it end Out in night Such fear Now it’s time What goes around Comes back again Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

15 “to the Diaspora” by Gwendolyn Brooks you did not know you were Afrika When you set out for Afrika you did not know you were going. Because you did not know you were Afrika. You did not know the Black continent that had to be reached was you. I could not have told you then that some sun would come, somewhere over the road, would come evoking the diamonds of you, the Black continent-- somewhere over the road. You would not have believed my mouth. When I told you, meeting you somewhere close to the heat and youth of the road, liking my loyalty, liking belief, you smiled and you thanked me but very little believed me. Here is some sun. Some. Now off into the places rough to reach. Though dry, though drowsy, all unwillingly a-wobble, into the dissonant and dangerous crescendo. Your work, that was done, to be done to be done to be done. Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

16 One of Gwendolyn Brooks’ most notable poems is, “To the Diaspora”, in which she uses imagery but she mostly, she liked to focus on free verse. In the second half of Brooks’ career, she liked to use free verse and speak in vernacular dialect that her community could more easily understand. This poem expresses how the African community was dispersed and sent to America where they have been treated unlawfully for years. Brooks is trying to put a positive spin on the situation by saying it is a fresh start for her race and they should do the best they can to achieve the ideals they deserve. She is trying to convince the people that even though the conditions aren’t what they want, they should still stand up for themselves and keep the journey for gaining respect going. Brooks refers to the sun as the hope or the faith they should maintain to reach the conditions that are more suitable “Here is some sun. Some/ Now off into the places rough to reach/ though dry, though drowsy, all unwilling a-wobble/ into the dissonant and dangerous crescendo/your work, that was done, to be done to be done to be done”. Through reading these lines there are examples of imagery and free verse that are demonstrated. She is using imagery to show how her writing this poem is giving her community hope, or “sun”. There is no rhyme or rhythm throughout these lines, so exhibits the use of free verse. Brooks liked to use free verse so she could be more direct and upfront with the topics in her poems. This poem was more directed to the African American community, and without the use of free verse the poem wouldn’t have been as easy to comprehend. Brooks liked to keep her poems thought-provoking by using imagery. With the use of many poetic devices and styles of poems throughout Brooks’ career, she was very influential to the African American community and wanted them to regain hope by writing, “Somewhere over the road/ would come evoking the diamonds/ of you, the Black continent—“. Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

17 I choose this poem because it is a very good example of her best work in the beginning of her poetry career. This poem is about children in Brooks’ neighborhood that like to skip school and stay out late. The last line in “We Real Cool” really stuck out to me; it really ties into the other lines of the poem. “We Die soon” is a result of leaving school and lurking late, which binds the whole poem together. “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon. Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography To Introduction Poems

18 Gwendolyn Brooks incorporated the life of the poverty stricken citizens in the Chicago community. Through this poem she tells what it is like to experience hunger and be told you can’t eat. The line, “And none can give me any word but Wait” struck me with anguish. Through Brooks’ poetry you really can comprehend the idea of what it would be like to be living in the world of poverty. “My Dreams, My Works, Must Wait Till After Hell” by Gwendolyn Brooks I hold my honey and I store my bread In little jars and cabinets of my will. I label clearly, and each latch and lid I bid, Be firm till I return from hell. I am very hungry. I am incomplete. And none can give me any word but Wait, The puny light. I keep my eyes pointed in; Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt Drag out to their last dregs and I resume On such legs as are left me, in such heart As I can manage, remember to go home, My taste will not have turned insensitive To honey and bread old purity could love. Biography List of Works Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Bibliography

19 http://www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/brooks/brooks-biobib.html http://www.notablebiographies.com/Br-Ca/Brooks-Gwendolyn.html http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/gwendolyn_brooks/biography http://www.gale.cengage.com/free_resources/bhm/bio/brooks_g.htm http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/gwendolyn_brooks.html http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap10/brooks.html http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/gwendolyn_brooks/photo http://hakeem786.blogspot.com/2011/04/cool-wallpapers_12.html http://wallpaperstock.net/aligned-street-lights-wallpapers_w11517.html http://www.paintingsilove.com/image/show/90516/african-woman


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