Gwendolyn Brooks

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General Information

Brooks Gwendolyn.jpg
Name: Gwendolyn Brooks

Celebrated on the Illinois State Library, Gwendolyn Brooks Building

"The written world holds, oh so much Of wonderful import- Here in these little books of mine Shines gold of every sort" - Gwendolyn Brooks

Illinois Poet Laureate - 1968-2000

Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress - 1985-86

Genre: Poetry

Born: June 7, 1917 in Topeka, Kansas

  • Go to: to see what celebrations are planned to commemorate the centennial of Gwendolyn Brooks birth!

Died: December 3, 2000


Illinois Connection

Brooks moved to Chicago with her family when she was six months old and lived there the rest of her life.

Biographical and Professional Information

Gwendolyn Brooks was a poet, novelist, children's fiction and lecturer. She began writing poetry at seven years of age and had her first poem published in a magazine when she was 13. After college, Brooks worked a variety of jobs until her marriage and the birth of her two children, but she continued to write poetry.

In 1945, her first of several books of poetry for adults was published to great praise. She won many honors and awards and, in 1950, was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize. It was for her book Annie Allen. In all, she was the author of more than twenty books of poetry and was named the Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and served in that capacity until her death in 2000. She also served as the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1985-86.

Brooks had a lifelong commitment to sharing poetry and teaching writing. She taught around the country and held posts at the University of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago State University, Elmhurst College, Columbia University, City College of New York, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Along with her published works listed below, Brooks also edited two books - A Broadside Treasury and Jump Bad: A New Chicago Anthology. She also contributed to several anthologies including - A Portion of That Field: The Centennial of the Burial of Lincoln, University of Illinois Press, 1967 - written with Otto Kerner, Allan Nevins, Paul M. Angle, Mark Van Doren, Paul H. Douglas, Bruce Catton and Adlai E. Stevenson.

Published Works

  • A Street in Bronzeville, Harper, 1945
  • Annie Allen, Harper, 1949
  • Maud Martha, Harper, 1953
  • Bronzeville Boys and Girls, Harper, 1956 - reprinted 2015
  • The Bean Eaters, Harper, 1960
  • Selected Poems, Harper, 1963
  • In the Mecca, Harper, 1968
  • For Illinois 1968 A Sesquicentennial Poem, Harper, 1968
  • Riot, Broadside Press, 1969
  • Family Pictures, Broadside Press, 1970
  • Aloneness, Broadside Press, 1971
  • The World of Gwendolyn Brooks, Harper, 1971
  • Aurora, Broadside Press, 1972
  • Report from Part One: An Autobiography, Broadside Press, 1972
  • The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves: Or You Are What You Are, Third World Press, 1974 - reissued, 1987
  • Beckonings, Broadside Press, 1975
  • A Capsule Course in Black Poetry Writing, Broadside Press, 1975 - written with Keorapetse Kgositsile, Haki R. Madhubuti, and Dudley Randall
  • Primer for Blacks, Black Position Press, 1980
  • Young Poet's Primer, Brooks Press, 1981
  • To Disembark, Third World Press, 1981
  • Black Love, Brooks Press, 1982
  • Very Young Poets, Brooks Press, 1983
  • Mayor Harold Washington and Chicago, The I Will City, Brooks Press, 1983
  • The Near-Johannesburg Boy, and Other Poems, David Co., 1986
  • Blacks, David Co., 1987
  • Gottschalk and the Grande Tarantelle, David Co., 1988
  • Winnie, Third World Press, 1988
  • Children Coming Home, David Co., 1991
  • The Gwendolyn Brooks Library, Moonbeam Publications, 1991
  • Report From Part Two, Third World Press, 1996
  • In Montgomery, and Other Poems, Third World Press, 2003

Titles for Purchase and at Your Library

A Street in Bronzeville

ISBN: 1125720239
Release Date: 1945

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Annie Allen

Release Date: 1949

Maud Martha

ISBN: 0883780615
Release Date: 1992-10-01

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Bronzeville Boys and Girls

ISBN: 0064437728
Release Date: 2015-01-27

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The Bean Eaters

ISBN: 1258274485
Release Date: 2012-04-07

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Selected Poems

ISBN: 0060882964
Release Date: 2006-07-03

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In the Mecca

ISBN: 0060105372
Release Date: 1968-06

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For Illinois, 1968;: A sesquicentennial poem

ASIN: B0006C2D6Q
Release Date: 1968


ISBN: 068530535X
Release Date: 1969-06

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Family Pictures

ISBN: 091029643X
Release Date: 1971-06

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The World of Gwendolyn Brooks

ISBN: 0060105380
Release Date: 1971-06

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Release Date: 1972

Report from Part One

ISBN: 0910296820
Release Date: 1972-12

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Tiger Who Wore White Gloves

ISBN: 0883780313
Release Date: 1974-04-01

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ISBN: 0910296375
Release Date: 1975-06

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Capsule Course in Black Poetry Writing

ISBN: 0910296324
Release Date: 1975-06

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Primer for Blacks

ISBN: 0883780569
Release Date: 1991-12-01

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Young Poet's Primer

Release Date: 1981

To Disembark

ISBN: 0883781026
Release Date: 1981-09-01

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Mayor Harold Washington ; and, Chicago, the I Will City

Release Date: 1983

The Near-Johannesburg Boy and Other Poems

ISBN: 0883780550
Release Date: 1991-11-01

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ISBN: 0883781050
Release Date: 1994-01-01

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Gottschalk and the Grande Tarantelle

ISBN: 0944191061
Release Date: 1988

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Children coming home

Release Date: 1991

Literary Awards

In the Mecca

  • Finalist, National Book Award in Poetry, 1969

Annie Allen

  • Pulitzer Prize, 1950

Other Prestigious Awards:

  • Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry, 1946
  • American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, 1946
  • Poet Laureate of Illinois, 1968-2000
  • Shelley Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America, 1976
  • Illinois Author of the Year, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, 1978
  • Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, 1985 - 1986
  • Inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, 1988
  • Life Time Achievement Award, National Endowment for the Arts, 1989
  • Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement, Poetry Society of America, 1989
  • Her name was engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures, 1990
  • Aiken Taylor Award, Sewanee Review, 1992
  • Jefferson Lecturer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1994
  • Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, National Book Foundation, 1994
  • National Medal of Arts, 1995
  • First Woman of the Year, Harvard Black Men's Forum, 1995
  • "Making History Award" for Distinction in Literature, Chicago History Museum, 1995
  • Order of Lincoln award, The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, 1997
  • Inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2010

Brooks also received more than 75 honorary degrees from colleges and universities worldwide

External Links

Gwendolyn Brooks on WorldCat


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