The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks was an impulse buy. I was already in the bookstore. It was just staring at me. I had to buy it.
Anyways. I wasn’t very familiar with Brooks’s works before buying this book. I mean, I’d heard of her—she won the Pulitzer Prize, among others—but I couldn’t tell you what she’d written.
Well, she wrote poetry, and a lot of it is race-related. This makes sense; she was a Black woman in a very unfriendly America. But with the possible exception of Countee Cullen (who I haven’t read in a while), I think she may have described Black anguish better than any other poet I’ve heard. In addition to this, she followed the rules just enough to be taken seriously at the time, reinventing the sonnet.
You may have learned “We Real Cool” in school, if you want a sample.
I don’t think Brooks is my favorite poet, but she’s probably in my top 5. Go look her up. ♥