Item description for The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks (American Poets Project) by Gwendolyn Brooks & Elizabeth Alexander...
Overview A selection of the influential African-American poet's works reflects her modernist style and includes numerous definitive World War II poems as well as pieces about the social and political upheavals of the 1960s.
Publishers Description Since she began publishing her tight lyrics of Chicago's South Side in the 1940s, Gwendolyn Brooks took her place as one of the most influential American poets of the 20th century, distilling modernist style through the sounds and shapes of a variety of African-American forms and Idioms. Now Elizabeth Alexander, one of our leading experts on African-American literature and culture, presents a sweeping new selection of Brooks's poetry.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.86" Width: 4.6" Height: 0.56" Weight: 0.48 lbs.
Release Date Nov 17, 2005
Publisher Library of America
ISBN 1931082871 ISBN13 9781931082877
Availability 0 units.
More About Gwendolyn Brooks & Elizabeth Alexander
Elizabeth Alexander, editor of this volume, is the author of four books of poems, includingAmerican Sublime, and the essay collectionThe Black Interior. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation as well as the George Kent Award, given by Gwendolyn Brooks. She is a professor at Yale University."
Gwendolyn Brooks lived in the state of Illinois. Gwendolyn Brooks was born in 1917 and died in 2000.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks (American Poets Project)?
One of the greatest American poets May 21, 2008
Brooks is a poet whose best known poems actually conceal her greatness from readers of poetry. To know Brooks by "We Real Cool" is just like knowing Williams by the wheelbarrow poem and the plums in the fridge. This is crazy!
I'm hard pressed to think of a standard that anybody could use to judge poetry and not understand that Gwnedolyn Brooks is one of the greatest American poets ever. In her many years, she managed to be everything: imaginative, weird, gorgeous and difficult language, a populist who is also a master at dislodging language from the commonplce, hard-nosed, unafraid of unpleasantness, moving, funny at times, a master of tone, personal and social, a master of form, and a master of free verse. She is a category buster, and frankly, next to her work, its variousness and there-ness, even post-WW2 poets who are amazing are a little less impressive, a bit goofier and egoistic.
She is also an example of a poet who really changes throughout her life & who is great at every stage of it.
Great Collection of a Modern Social Poet May 7, 2006
Various editions of "Selected Poems" by the late Gwendolyn Brooks are floating around, most of which only have differences in layout or binding. All have the core poems that defined Brooks as one of America's poets with a social conscience.
In the spirit of Carl Sandburg and Langston Hughes, and occasionally, Robert Frost, her poetry meets the reader head-on. However, to Brooks' credit, and what makes her a great poet, is she sees the big picture, just her greatly skilled colleagues listed above.
Brooks was black. She neither hid it, nor would be ashamed that I said so. Many of her poems revolved around the issues impacting African Americans, both the responsibility they have, as well as an acknowledgment of the difficulties they endure because of racism and cultural differences.
Her poems will survive (and are worth reading today) because they were not shackled to the political milieu of the day. What she wrote in the 1940s, when racism was bolder and more detrimental than today, matters.
She was current, yet eternal. Even though "The Last Quatrain of the Ballad of Emmett Till" refers to a young man murdered decades ago, the reader without that context will still appreciates its common-spoken depth (her indents are diminished in my copy below because of the software to post this):
after the murder, after the burial
Emmett's mother is a pretty-faced thing; the tint of pulled taffy. She sits in a red room, drinking black coffee. She kisses her killed boy. And she is sorry. Chaos in windy grays through a red prairie.
Award-winning, and well-celebrated toward the end of her life, Brooks complete collection of poems is a valuable lesson in compassion, speaking with strong poetic voice, and honesty. For the reader looking for an introduction to Brooks' poetry without having to work through the vast complete works would do well to start here.
I fully recommend "Selected Poems" by Gwendolyn Brooks.
Anthony Trendl editor, HungarianBookstore.com
Dissappointed... Jan 4, 2004
I like Gwendolyn Brooks. But I like poetry that tells a story more and this book didn't have much of it. My favorite poem was "Bronzeville Woman in a Red Hat" because it was more my style of poetry, a hidden story being revealed by every line. I just wasn't feeling the poetry in this book. It seemed a little dry. I love "We Real Cool" and classics like that, but I don't feel this book showcased Brooks' ability to tell a story and recite a poem at the same time.
My Comments Apr 24, 2001
This is a wonderful book for both children and adults. If you like poems, then you should definetly read this book.
Gwendolyn Brooks is Magnificient Oct 7, 2000
Five stars! If I had to choose the ten greatest books of the twentieth century, Brooks' Selected Poems would have to be one of them. Her voice is entirely original - no one who came before Brooks or follows her writes quite like her. Brooks' work is distinguished by so many wonderful qualities - she may have the best ear of any living American poet. Her sense of the musicality of language rivals that of Yeats and Dylan Thomas (as in, say, "A Sunset of the City," "We Real Cool," "Big Bessie throws her son into the street, and her great long poem, "Riot."). I once heard Gwendolyn Brooks read over twenty years ago when I was in college, and I still haven't forgotten the sound of her voice, and with it the dawn of my understanding that poetry is half-music, half-language. Brooks is also capable of that kind of clarity and brilliance of imagery that you find in the best William Carlos Williams Poems. (Read, for example, "The Last Quatrain of the Ballad of Emmett Till" or "My Little `Bout Town Gal"). What has always been most special about her work for me, however, is the way Brooks captures nuances of feeling, multi-layers of emotion, in a few phrases, as in her very contemporary poem about abortion, "the mother," or her love poem, "A Lovely Love." The only other poet I know of who does this so well is Emily Dickinson.