Did you know that every year the United States Library of Congress appoints a Poet Laureate to represent the art of poetry in America? Well, Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was a Poet Laureate from 1985-1986. She was also the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize. She has many more dazzling accomplishments that I will not be talking about here. This book of selected poems has a nice biography at the end and more details on the poems found in this book.
Sometimes I don’t understand poetry. I like the medium but there are many types of poems and poetic devices that I’ve never learned about. I enjoy it immensely but sometimes I don’t understand what the writer is trying to convey.
- Who: named after the poet Robert Frost; started by the Poetry Society of America
- What: lifetime service in poetry
- When: started in 1930 but was not awarded annually until 1984
- Prize: currently $5000
- Other winners: https://poetrysociety.org/award-winners/name/frost-award
Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks is a perfect starting point to get an overview of her body of work. It starts off with some poems from A Street in Bronzeville. Each poem tells the story of different parts that make up a community. The section Annie Allen is about the life of a young woman and The Bean Eaters is a reference to poor people who beans because it’s a cheap food.
Naturally, the important thing is, I helped to save them, and a part of their democracy.
Even if I had to kick their law into their teeth in order to do that for them.
And I am feeling well and settled in myself because I believe it was a good job,
Despite this possible horror: that they might prefer the
Preservation of their law in all its sick dignity and their knives
To the continuation of their creed
And their lives.Part of the poem Negro Hero
The Mother, Mrs Small, The Last Quatrain of the Ballad of Emmett Hill, and The Ballad of Rudolph Reed are the poems that stuck out to me the most. The poems speak for themselves and I’m not here to critique them so I highly recommend this collection to anyone who is interested in poetry. Happy reading!