Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Gwendolyn Brooks  

Pen Name: 

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult; Children;

Born: June 7, 1917 in Topeka, Kansas

Died: December 3, 2000

-- Gwendolyn Brooks on WorldCat --

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

Selected Titles At Your Library

Maud Martha /
ISBN: 0883780615. OCLC Number:

. .

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.

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

. .

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

The Bean eaters /
ISBN: 1258274485. OCLC Number:

Literary Licensing Llc,. [Whitefish, Mont.] :. 2012.

Selected poems /
ISBN: 0060882964. OCLC Number:

. .

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.

In the Mecca :
ISBN: 0060105372. OCLC Number:

. .

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.

Family pictures /
ISBN: 091029643X. OCLC Number:

. .

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

Harper & Row. New York,. [1971]

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

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

Broadside Press,. Detroit, Michigan :. ©1972.

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

. .

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

Beckonings :
ISBN: 0910296375. OCLC Number:

Broadside Press,. Detroit :. ©1975.

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

Broadside Press,. Detroit :. 1975.

Primer for Blacks /
ISBN: 0883780569. OCLC Number:

Third World Press,. Chicago, Ill. :. 1991, ©1980.

To disembark /
ISBN: 0883781026. OCLC Number:

. .

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

Third World Press,. Chicago :. 1987

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:

Third World Press,. Chicago, Ill. :. 1991, ©1986.

Blacks /
ISBN: 0883781050. OCLC Number:

. .

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

David Co.,. Chicago :. ©1988.

Winnie /
ISBN: 088378050X. OCLC Number:

Third World Press,. Chicago, IL :. 1991.


In the Mecca

  • Finalist, National Book Award in Poetry, 1969
  • Annie Allen

  • Pulitzer Prize, 1950

    Other Prestigious Awards