Here is a necessary collection of poetry for admirers of words and treasurers of literary beauty. Spanning more than 30 years, this collection of literary masterpieces by the venerable Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks, arguably Illinois' most beloved Poet Laureate and Chicago's elder black literary stateswoman, "Blacks" includes all of Ms. Brooks' critically acclaimed writings. Within...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by Third World Press
(first published 1987)
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I dig Gwendolyn Brooks. I really do. I like the book cover. I like the title. But she's hit or miss with me. Half the poems I dig, I dig until I've hit in the middle of the earth. The others are not over my head (doesn't mean I get them), because being over my head means I still have some emotional reaction. I'm just cold. There's no reaction. So overall, buy it for the prose and half the poetry, because getting 50% dope poems is still better than 100% wack ones.
This tome's got pretty much everything GB wrote except, unfortunately (or fortunately? some of the later stuff isn't so great), all the later stuff she published with black presses after she left Harper Collins. It's even got the novel, Maud Martha, she published back in the day, which is average as a novel though fascinating if you really like Gwendolyn Brooks. Which I do. Read it and be in awe of a woman who could live life in Jim Crow Chicago, write life in Jim Crow Chicago, and continually e...more
An uneven collection. When she is good, she is very very good, but it is an unfortunate decision (by someone) to throw so much of Brooks' work into a single book willy-nilly. Again, I am frustrated by the ubiquitous practice of publishing poems without their dates and in no particular sequence! When they are tumbled into a single collection, even the publication date is lost as a crude indicator. Books are dated, paintings are dated, why not individual poems? I would love to have a sense of cont...more
If it were just the first three collections of poems, I'd give this book 5++ stars. The later collections seem tired and uninspired, as though Brooks had found what worked and was just rehashing it over and over. The rhythm was loose and redundant and the diction a bit stale...That is, in comparison to Brooks' earlier works. (She's still head and shoulders above most famous poets.)
Apr 02, 2009 Claire S marked it as to-read
Recommended to Claire by: Daughter's English class..
First section of my daughter's English class is all about Gwendolyn. Can't wait to read her finally (separately from my daughter of course, I just am re-doing my high school learning experience now, with her much-better curriculum. We sometimes chat for a second or two about this or that, but basically I read her assigned works for thoroughly selfish reasons.
Although she was born on 7 June 1917 in Topeka, Kansas--the first child of David and Keziah Brooks--Gwendolyn Brooks is "a Chicagoan." The family moved to Chicago shortly after her birth, and despite her extensive travels and periods in some of the major universities of the country, she has remained associated with the city's South Side. What her strong family unit lacked in material wealth was ma...moreMore about Gwendolyn Brooks...