Sunday, January 10, 2010

Color Online Quiz: Literature and Women Studies

Quiz #88
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What is the poem shown below all about? What message does it convey and how effective is it? Who is the poet?


We real cool. We
Left School. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.


Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) had her first poem published at the age of thirteen. About her poems she said, "I wrote about what I saw and heard in the street," Ms. Brooks told Paul M. Angle in an interview for Illinois Bell (Summer 1967) magazine. “I lived in a small second-floor apartment at the corner, and I could look first on one side and then on the other. There was my material.”


Mama C said...

The poet is one of my all time hero's Gwendolyn Brooks.

She wrote the poem after watching a group of young men playing pool instead of going to school. She questioned their future. It became her signature poem, in part to her dismay as she is such a prolific poet. I actually wrote a response to this poem--a tribute to her and my sons for our staff talent show! You can hear her read it if you google her. It is amazing.

Mama C said...

I meant you can read her read "We Real Cool" if you google her and that poem of course. It has a longer title--including the name of the Pool Hall I think.

Anonymous said...

I was just listening to this audio clip of Gwendolyn Brooks reading it. She begins the clip with a complaint that it's the only thing she wrote that gets any attention from anthologizers/teachers. The clip ends with her announcing that she's going to read three more poems now...

...but whoever edited the clip decided that those three poems didn't matter enough to be left as part of the clip. :-/

January said...

Believe it or not, I have "We Real Cool" as my iPhone ringtone. Ms. Brooks was an amazing poet. Got to hear her read once before she died.

As much as I love this poem, she wrote so many other terrific poems, including the Annie Allen poems. I think people here "We Real Cool" and stop right there. There is so much more to Ms. Brooks--just phenomenal.

Jessie Carty said...

it is an amazing poem but i 2nd those we have been saying she has a lot of other amazing work that isn't mentioned as often but by mentioning her here hopefully some people will go out and seek her poems!