Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Gwendolyn Brooks  

Pen Name: 

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: June 7, 1917 in Topeka, Kansas

Died: December 3, 2000

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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 - written with Otto Kerner, Allan Nevins, Paul M. Angle, Mark Van Doren, Paul H. Douglas, Bruce Catton and Adlai E. Stevenson.


'Annie Allen '

Pulitzer Prize, 1950

'In the Mecca '

Finalist, National Book Award in Poetry, 1969

Other Awards and Honors

Appointed, Poet Laureate of Illinois, 1968 - 2000

Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, 1969

Honorary Consultant in American letters to the Library of Congress, 1973

American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1976

Shelley Memorial Award, Poetry Society of America, 1976

Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, 1985

National Women's Hall of Fame, 1988

Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement, Poetry Society of America, 1989

Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, National Book Foundation, 1994

National Medal of the Arts, 1995

Order of Lincoln, State of Illinois, 1997

Fellowship for Distinguished Achievement, Academy of American Poets, 1999

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2010

Selected Titles At Your Library

A broadside treasury.
ISBN: 0910296510. OCLC Number: 221174

. .

A call to character :
ISBN: 0060173394. OCLC Number: 33102645

HarperCollins Publishers,. .

A varied collection of readings with selections from novels and short stories to plays and poetry.

A Capsule course in Black poetry writing /
ISBN: 0910296324. OCLC Number: 2040782

Broadside Press,. .

A street in Bronzeville
ISBN: 9781598533811. OCLC Number: 902675817

. .

Gwendolyn Brooks was one of the most accomplished and acclaimed poets of the last century, the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize and the first black woman to serve as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress- the forerunner of the U.S. Poet Laureate. Here is her groundbreaking first book of poems, a searing portrait of Chicago's South Side.

ISBN: 0910296553. OCLC Number: 267396

Broadside Press,. .

Beckonings :
ISBN: 0910296375. OCLC Number: 1898410

Broadside Press,. .

Blacks /
ISBN: 0883781050. OCLC Number: 15649263

. .

Bronzeville boys and girls /
ISBN: 0064437728. OCLC Number: 63125938

. .

A collection of poems that celebrate the joy, beauty, imagination, and freedom of childhood.

Essential Brooks.
ISBN: 0060878762. OCLC Number: 63281849

HarperCollins :. .

Pulitzer Prize winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks reads 27 of her best poems, including 'Do not be afraid of no, ' 'The bean eaters, ' 'Riot, ' and 'The sermon on the warpland, ' in a quiet, forceful manner that underscores the raw vigor of her writing, centered on the daily lives of black people in bleak cities--Container.

Family pictures /
ISBN: 091029643X. OCLC Number: 127285

. .

Gottschalk and the grande tarantelle /
ISBN: 0944191061. OCLC Number: 19502420

David Co.,. .

In Montgomery, and other poems
ISBN: 0883782324. OCLC Number: 52269120

Third World Press,. .

Presents a collection of poems that provide monologues of a variety of voices, including urban children, Winnie Mandela, and Alabama civil rights workers.

In the Mecca :
ISBN: 0060105372. OCLC Number: 279965

. .

This was the Pulitzer Prize-winner's first new collection of poetry after a gap of nearly ten years. "I was to be a Watchful Eye; a Tuned Ear; a Super-reporter," Brooks said. "I began writing about whatever I thought I knew, whatever I experienced." What she knew and experienced in those years resulted in poetry charged with a new power and urgency. The book takes its title from a long narrative poem set in a huge decayed apartment house in Chicago's black ghetto, a building called the Mecca. A tragedy in the Mecca gives rise to Brooks' extraordinary poetic evocation of its dense personal miseries and sense of life. Nine shorter poems follow, and these too, in large part, have their source in contemporary figures and circumstances: Medgar Evers and Malcolm X, "the Blackstone Rangers gang," the astonishing prideful mural painted on a ghetto wall one summer. The universality that transcends the immediate event, and is the mark of poetic sensibility, distinguishes all the poetry here. Gwendolyn Brooks' stature as a poet who "induces almost unbearable excitement"--As Phyllis McGinley described her--is here enriched by the new dimensions her work encompasses.--Adapted from book jacket.

Masterplots :
ISBN: 0893560855. OCLC Number: 34875939

Salem Press,. .

Entries ae arranged alphabetically by title, with the type of work, author, type and time of plot, locale, first publication date, and principal characters listed. A plot synopsis is followed by a critical essay and a brief bibliography. Each entry is three to four pages in length. The four indexes included are by chronological date, by geographic locale, by title, and by author. The title 'Masterplots' does not convey the depth of information contained in the 12 volumes. The titles treated range chronologically from antiquity to the early 1990s, with the major emphasis on literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While the majority of the entries are British, European, and United States fiction, the work also encompasses drama, works or collections of poetry, and nonfiction. Am Ref Books Annu, 1997.

Maud Martha /
ISBN: 0883780615. OCLC Number: 28577117

. .

A first novel by this world class poet, Maud Martha captures the essence of Black life. Gwendolyn Brooks portrays one woman's quest and love for life despite its difficulties. Whether she confronts teenaged love and marriage or the challenges of womanhood and adulthood survival, we come face to face with Maud Martha--recognizing that her beauty and strength reside deep in every one of us.--Page [4] of cover.

Primer for Blacks /
ISBN: 0883780569. OCLC Number: 25226172

Third World Press,. .

Report from part one /
ISBN: 0910296820. OCLC Number: 522976

Broadside Press,. .

Report from part two
ISBN: 088378162X. OCLC Number: 34524051

Third World Press,. .

Selected poems /
ISBN: 0060882964. OCLC Number: 767982

. .

Contains a selection of poems from three earlier books: "A Street in Bronzeville," "Annie Allen," and "The Bean Eaters" as well as some new selections.

The Bean eaters
ISBN: 1258269694. OCLC Number: 794207335

Literary Licensing Llc,. .

The destruction of Black civilization :
ISBN: 0883780461. OCLC Number: 16850641

Third World Press,. .

A widely read classic exposition of the history of Africans on the continent, the people of African descent in the United States and in the diaspora. This is well researched scholarly work detailing the development of civilisation in Africa and its destruction.

The near-Johannesburg boy, and other poems /
ISBN: 0883780550. OCLC Number: 25302100

Third World Press,. .

The tiger who wore white gloves, or, What you are you are /
ISBN: 0883780313. OCLC Number: 1103360

. .

All the tiger's fierce qualities do not satisfy him; he wants to be stylish and wear white gloves.

The world of Gwendolyn Brooks.
ISBN: 0060105380. OCLC Number: 173363

Harper & Row. .

A street in Bronzeville.-Annie Allen.-Maud Martha.-The beat eaters.-In the Mecca.

To disembark /
ISBN: 0883781026. OCLC Number: 8082723

. .

Winnie /
ISBN: 088378050X. OCLC Number: 25197145

Third World Press,. .