poem index


Gwendolyn Brooks

Printer-friendly version
Gwendolyn Brooks
Related Schools & Movements: 

Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas, on June 7, 1917, and raised in Chicago. She was the author of more than twenty books of poetry, including Children Coming Home (The David Co., 1991); Blacks (1987); To Disembark (1981); The Near-Johannesburg Boy and Other Poems (1986); Riot (1969); In the Mecca (1968); The Bean Eaters (1960); Annie Allen (1949), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize; and A Street in Bronzeville (1945).

She also wrote numerous other books including a novel, Maud Martha (1953), and Report from Part One: An Autobiography (1972), and edited Jump Bad: A New Chicago Anthology (1971).

In 1968 she was named poet laureate for the state of Illinois, and from 1985-86 she was consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress. She also received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation. She lived in Chicago until her death on December 3, 2000.

Selected Bibliography


A Street in Bronzeville (1945)
Aloneness (1971)
Annie Allen (1949)
Aurora (1972)
Beckonings (1975)
Black Love (1981)
Black Steel: Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali (1971)
Blacks (1987)
Bronzeville Boys and Girls (1956)
Children Coming Home (1991)
Family Pictures (1970)
In the Mecca (1968)
Riot (1970)
Selected Poems (1963)
The Bean Eaters (1960)
The Near-Johannesburg Boy and Other Poems (1986)
The Wall (1967)
The World of Gwendolyn Brooks (1971)
To Disembark (1981)
We Real Cool (1966)
Winnie (1988)


A Capsule Course in Black Poetry Writing (1975)
Primer for Blacks (1981)
Report from Part One: An Autobiography (1972)
Very Young Poets (1983)
Young Poet's Primer (1981)


Maud Martha (1953)

by this poet

Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?
They took my lover's tallness off to war,
Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess
What I can use an empty heart-cup for.
He won't be coming back here any more.
Some day the war will end, but, oh, I knew
When he went walking grandly out that door
That my sweet love would have
	arrive. The Ladies from the Ladies' Betterment
Arrive in the afternoon, the late light slanting
In diluted gold bars across the boulevard brag
Of proud, seamed faces with mercy and murder hinting
Here, there, interrupting, all deep and debonair,
The pink paint on the innocence of fear;
Walk in a
Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb

collected in

A collection of essays and ephemera about several women poets whose li...