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The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks : (American Poets Project #19)

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A selection of the influential African-American poet's works reflects her modernist style and includes numerous definitive World War II poems as well as pieces about the social and political upheavals of the 1960s. "If you wanted a poem," wrote Gwendolyn Brooks, "you only had to look out of a window. There was material always, walking or running, fighting or screaming or singing." From the life of Chicago's South Side she made a forceful and passionate poetry that fused Modernist aesthetics with African-American cultural tradition, a poetry that registered the life of the streets and the upheavals of the 20th century. Starting with  A Street in Bronzeville (1945), her epoch-making debut volume,  The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks traces the full arc of her career in all its ambitious scope and unexpected stylistic shifts.

"Her formal range," writes editor Elizabeth Alexander, "is most impressive, as she experiments with sonnets, ballads, spirituals, blues, full and off-rhymes. She is nothing short of a technical virtuoso." That technical virtuosity was matched by a restless curiosity about the life around her in all its explosive variety. By turns compassionate, angry, satiric, and psychologically penetrating, Gwendolyn Brooks's poetry retains its power to move and surprise.

About the American Poets Project
Elegantly designed in compact editions, printed on acid-free paper, and textually authoritative, the American Poets Project makes available the full range of the American poetic accomplishment, selected and introduced by today’s most discerning poets and critics.


Series Title
American Poets Project
Library of America
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
Gwendolyn Brooks
Publication Date
November, 2005
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.80 x 4.68 x 0.60 Inches

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The Egg Boiler by Gwen...

The Egg Boiler by Gwendolyn Brooks"Being you, you cut your poetry from wood.The boiling of an egg is heavy art.You come upon it as an artist should,With rich-eyed passion, and with straining heart.We fools, we cut our poems out of air.Night color, wind soprano, and such stuff.And sometimes weightlessness is much to bear.You mock it, though, you name it Not Enough.The egg, spooned gently to the avid pan,And left the strick three minute, or the four,Is your Enough and art for any man.We fools give courteous ear----then cut some more,Shaping a gorgeous Nothingness from cloud.You watch us, eat your egg, and laugh aloud."

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