Review: Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks


Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Date read: October 27 to 29, 2013
Read count: 1

This is the most well-known set of Gwendolyn Brooks’ poetry. Many of these poems were published in various magazines and literary journals, and now they’re finally brought together in one collection.

If you’re into rhythmic poetry, take a look at this collection. If “We Real Cool” is the only poem of Brooks you know, then you’re barely scratching the surface. She has a way of grafting more meaning into a couple of lines of texts and empty spaces than any poet I’ve ever read.

Life for my child is simple, and is good.
He knows his wish. Yes, but that is not all.
Because I know mine too.
And we both want joy of undeep and unabiding things, like kicking over a chair or throwing blocks out a window
Or trippping over an icebox pan
Or snatching down curtains or fingering an electric outlet
Or a journey or a friend or an illegal kiss.
No. There is more to it than that.
It is that he is never afraid.
Rather, he reaches out and lo the chair falls with a beautiful
And the blocks fall, down on people’s heads,
And the water comes slooshing slopily out across the floor
And so forth.
Not that success, for him, is sure, infallible.
But never has he been afraid to reach.
His lessions are legion.
But reaching is his rule.

— — — — —

I’d like to thank Ryan from HarperCollins for sending me the anniversary edition to enjoy.


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