Poet. Author. Educator
(1917 - 2000)
Born in Topeka, Kansas. Wife. Mother. Poet. Author. Educator. Pulitzer Prize Winner. 19 Poetry Collections and Non-Fiction works of art. Her work mainly focuses on the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in the Black community. Her passion to encourage and uplift exudes in each line, stanza, and poem created. Based on her work, it is presumed that her goal was to restore the confidence, joy, and the tact among those within the African American culture that may have been lost during our time of struggle.
Pulitzer Prize Winner.
19 Poetry Collections and Non-Fiction Works of Art.
Today we highlight a highly esteemed, influential, and impeccable poet, Gwendolyn Brooks. In the 20th century, Gwendolyn became an American Poet known for speaking to racial identity and equality during the civil rights era.
Although this is historically known as a gloomy phase in African American history, Brooks chose to write stories that celebrated the culture, detailed it’s overcoming spirit, and illustrated their realities while fluently discussing the need for social advancement.
Her work garnered much attention and honor, resulting in her becoming the first Black author to win the Pulitzer Prize and later serve as the Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress. Her journey to these achievements did not come without challenges, but it was her overcoming spirit that led to her becoming a poetic giant and creating a legacy for others to follow and aspire to.
At the young age of 13, Gwendolyn knew she wanted to become a writer so she decided to publish her first piece. After receiving support from her parents and garnering the praise of Langston Hughes, she was encouraged to pursue a literature career.
Brooks knew that writing was her life’s mission. It was in this moment, Gwendolyn decided, whether she earned a living from it or not, she would be committed to writing and creating poems to restore the confidence, joy, and tact of the African American and Societal culture that may have been lost during times of struggle.
Gwendolyn Brooks was a quiet giant in the American Poetry and Literature community. Whether providing feedback to upcoming artists, editing works in progress, or approving poetry collections to receive publication honors, Brooks had her hands in the lives and stories of many of the poets we know today.
“I want to write poems that will be non-compromising. I don’t want to stop a concern with words doing good jobs, which has always been a concern of mine, but I want to write poems that will be meaningful… things that will touch them.”
Gwendolyn and her extensive career started the day she chose to do what she loved. It didn’t matter if others never read her work, she loved her work and enjoyed the process of creating. For her, writing was second to breathing. It’s how she expressed, imagined, perceived, and relieved herself and others of the tensions that come with everyday living. Within her 19 poetry collections and works of art, Brooks has created many gems, good for your inner growth, glow, gifts, and goals.
Thank You Gwendolyn Brooks.
Thank you for living your life with conviction, passion, and belief in self.
Thank you for chasing your dreams with the sole purpose of seeing them come to life.
Thank you for orating poems in such an innovative and humbling way that exudes jazz tune vibes.
Thank you for reminding us of all the good that exists, even through struggle.
May the bricks you laid be built upon with a similar inner grace and confidence that comes with loving who you were created to be, unapologetically.
-For Your Inner G
Scroll below as we share a literary and audio piece of Gwendolyn Brooks.
"Speech to the Young" by Gwendolyn Brooks, from BLACKS (Chicago, IL: Third World Press, 1991). Copyright © 1991 by Gwendolyn Brooks Blakely. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
American poet Gwendolyn Brooks sat down in 1986 to talk with Alan Jabbour, director of the Library of Congress' American Folklore division, and E. Ethelbert Miller, poet and director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University.
This is a For Your Inner G Artist Highlight Exclusive. Created to inspire, uplift, and deepen your knowledge of self, culture, and community.
The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature and musical composition within the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer.
Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri.