Gwendolyn Brooks

Brooks, Gwendolyn Elizabeth

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks, 1917–2000, American poet, b. Topeka, Kans. She grew up in the slums of Chicago and lived in that city until her death. Brooks's poems, technically accomplished and written in a variety of forms including quatrains, free verse, ballads, and sonnets, deal with the experience of being black and often of being female in America. She attracted critical attention with her first volume, A Street in Bronzeville (1945). Brooks went on to win the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Annie Allen (1949), becoming the first black woman to win this award. Her verse was collected in The World of Gwendolyn Brooks (1970), which also includes an earlier novelette, Maud Martha (1953). Her work took on a more radical tone beginning with In the Mecca (1968); the subsequent poems in Riot (1970) are written in street dialects. Her other writings include Primer for Blacks (1980) and To Disembark (1981).

See her autobiographies, Report from Part One (1972) and Report from Part Two (1995).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Gwendolyn Brooks
Harold Bloom.
Chelsea House, 2000
Librarian’s tip: This is a book of literary criticism
"A Material Collapse That Is Construction": History and Counter-Memory in Gwendolyn Brooks's in the Mecca
Lowney, John.
MELUS, Vol. 23, No. 3, Fall 1998
Double Consciousness, Modernism, and Womanist Themes in Gwendolyn Brooks's "The Anniad"
Jimoh, A. Yemisi.
MELUS, Vol. 23, No. 3, Fall 1998
The Love Song of Satin-Legs Smith: Gwendolyn Brooks Revisits Prufrock's Hell
Saunders, Judith P.
Papers on Language & Literature, Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter 2000
By Herself: Women Reclaim Poetry
Molly McQuade.
Graywolf Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Meditations on 'Mecca': Gwendolyn Brooks and the Responsibilities of the Black Poet" begins on p. 368
The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946
James Edward Smethurst.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Hysterical Ties: Gwendolyn Brooks and the Rise of a 'High' Neomodernism"
Perspectives of Black Popular Culture
Harry B. Shaw.
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Cultural Challenge, Heroic Response: Gwendolyn Brooks and the New Black Poetry" begins on p. 71
African American Autobiographers: A Sourcebook
Emmanuel S. Nelson.
Greenwood Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)" begins on p. 47
Black American Women Poets and Dramatists
Harold Bloom.
Chelsea House, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Gwendolyn Brooks b. 1917" begins on p. 15
Contemporary African American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook
Emmanuel S. Nelson.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-)" begins on p. 47
Killing John Cabot and Publishing Black: Gwendolyn Brooks's Riot
Sullivan, James D.
African American Review, Vol. 36, No. 4, Winter 2002
"The Kindergarten of New Consciousness": Gwendolyn Brooks and the Social Construction of Childhood
Flynn, Richard.
African American Review, Vol. 34, No. 3, Fall 2000
"No Justice, No Peace": The Figure of Emmett till in African American Literature
Metress, Christopher.
MELUS, Vol. 28, No. 1, Spring 2003
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