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Staff Pick of the Week: Gwendolyn Brooks


It’s National Poetry Month and we wanted to share another one of our favorite poets.  This week’s staff pick is the the works of Gwendolyn Brooks. Author of more than twenty books of poetry, Brooks is a multi-award winning, critically-acclaimed poet. She is the first African-American female author to win a Pulitzer Prize, was the Poet Laureate of Illinois from 1968 until her death in 2000 and served as the consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress from 1985-986. Here’s one of her best:

a song in the front yard

I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
A girl gets sick of a rose.
I want to go in the back yard now
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play.
I want a good time today.
They do some wonderful things.
They have some wonderful fun.
My mother sneers, but I say it’s fine
How they don’t have to go in at quarter to nine.
My mother, she tells me that Johnnie Mae
Will grow up to be a bad woman.
That George’ll be taken to Jail soon or late
(On account of last winter he sold our back gate).
But I say it’s fine. Honest, I do.
And I’d like to be a bad woman, too,
And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace
And strut down the streets with paint on my face.

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