The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks

Many thanks to Erin for reminding me about how wonderful Gwendolyn Brooks is. This is a distillation of the “essential” poems of her life, including the perfect We Real Cool. I didn’t realize that Brooks was the first African-American to receive a Pulitzer, obtained in 1950 for her book Annie Allen. Born in Topeka, KS in 1917, she moved to Chicago as part of the Great Migration only a few months after her birth.

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
Die soon.