Monday, December 19, 2005

Out of Illinois: Poet Gwendolyn Brooks

The great poet and Chicagoan Gwendolyn Brooks was born in 1917 and died in 2000. She served as Illinois's Poet Laureate, was the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize, and earned a host of other honors.

Below is her poem A Penitent Considers Another Coming of Mary, For Reverand Theodore Richardson. It reminds me of Christmas and our country's arc of conduct lately. [For those of you of other faiths, welcome and please bear with me.]

If Mary came would Mary
Forgive, as Mothers may,
And sad and second Saviour
Furnish us today?

She would not shake her head and leave
This military air,
But ratify a modern hay,
And put her Baby there.

Mary would not punish men--
If Mary came again.

Brooks' Bean Eaters (my all time favorite Gwendolyn poem) can be found here. An audio file of her reading We Real Cool can be found here.

Link to Elegy for Gwendolyn Brooks by Quraysh Lansana.

Modern American Poetry site on Brooks here.

Link to the Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary School in Aurora, IL that sadly does little on their site to honor her.

Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State University here.

1 comment:

John said...

There's also the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy on 111th Street near the Pullman District, though it looks like their web page doesn't do much for Brooks beyond a photoshopped image of her towering over the school. The school was actually built for Pullman, was given to the Catholic church years later when Pullman folded, and eventually found its way into the hands of CPS. I worked on a recent plan for a much-needed gym, pool, and auditorium addition, but it's on hold due to lack of funds, like many other schools.