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I m in love with the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks I m happy to have found her words, finally, but sad to have gone so long without them This volume is slim, but the poems are rich thematically and the language is complex, even in the deceptively simple sing song verses. It s sad that a review has yet to be written for Gwendolyn Brooks Annie Allen There s not even a cover picture for the book yet Brooks is known for her highly anthologized poem We Real Cool, and this collection is a great way to get acquainted with her earlier poetry and begin to become familiarized with her extensive body of work Annie Allen won the Pulitzer in 1950, which is not the least bit surprising considering her work Her words are striking and fluid and the poems are masterfully crafted The poems have an expansive range of ideas, moments, and structures They delve into childhood, womanhood, race and the passing of tradition Her sounds and rhythms feel like they were heavily influenced by Mr Manley Hopkins himself Hopkins was awesome and I am interested to know if anyone can see other influences in this work. This is an award winning and history making book of poetry from 1945 It was well outside of my comfort zone, but I still found tons to enjoy.There were a few poems that completely captured an emotion or a moment which I really loved such as do not be afraid of no and pygmies are pygmies still though percht on Alps There were two that also captured the idea of privilege and the request for consideration of an issue without devaluing other issues a la the Black Lives Matter or metoo movements that resounded with me deeply It s at once so comforting and enraging to know that none of these issues are new, it s just that my skinfolk are so good at repressing narratives that make them worried that if we share power, we ll be treated like we ve treated others for hundreds of years Thought provoking, beautifully worded and evocative I m not sure poetry will become a mainstay of my literary diet, but this was a great treat. This book is a long poem divided into three main sections From birth to womanhood, the story of Annie Allen It is very different to review a book like this, however, I find the use of poetry to tell a beautiful story Brooks also has a masterful command of the English language The language she uses weaves wonderfully and creates a story of self actualization Quick read and I enjoyed it. I opened this musical book with an innocent question why was Gwendolyn Brooks never celebrated among my poetry loving friends It could have been the company I kept, but when I was studying in undergrad, it felt that my friends had run the gauntlet of artistic obsessions, and never quite landed upon Brooks Now, upon reading her, I see how her work denies the young contemporary poet twofold first, she denies them the feeling of being in the know her work does not open to understanding without conjecture, without risk how else does one make sense of a line Do not be afraid of no, Who has so far so very far to go 12 Second, she denies young aspiring poets their seeming to others to be in the know, writing as she does in a rhyming, twisting, formal idiom that at times resembles the nursery rhyme But Brooks is not easy by any means she defies the nursery rhyme with a mind like a whittling knife The moment one opens Annie Allen, one knows that they are in the presence of a genius of lyric Brooks is quick in two senses of the word quick witted, of course, but also quick to move to meaning her poems leap from word to word and sometimes develop so quickly that they threaten to leave the reader behind First fight Then fiddle becomes the opening thesis statement of a poem that later spools out that meaning Rise for having first to civilize a space Wherein to play your violin with grace 38 To read Brooks is to always be on the edge of one s seat, so to speak, as she develops her poems the way Annie Allen s son develops himself His lesions are legion But reaching is his rule 40 And Brooks displays her reach through her verbal resourcefulness, always choosing the far flung object or adjective to add to her clamorous mix the milk glass fruit bowl, iron pot yellow apron and spilling pretty cherries 3 These literary objects form the imaginative collection related to the birth in a narrow room, her opening poem But as the imagined Annie develops throughout the book in three distinct sections Notes from the Childhood and the Girlhood, The Anniad and The Womanhood , the poems slough off their object loving characters and become exercises in personal thought, in the lyric I Men of careful turns, haters of forks in the road Grant me that I am human, that I hurt, That I can cry 59 We watch Annie move from being implied by a collection of objects as in the birth in a narrow room to developing and defending her own selfhood Men of careful turns What is laudatory in Brooks is endless, but I ll relay here one small nut of encouragement that I found in her work her use of homegrown forms The compact poem, the rites for Cousin Vit, for example, exhibits a lovely concord between form and content, as the poem follows the funeral rites for a relative whose vivaciousness seems to threaten death s finality Too much Too much Even now, surmise, She rises in the sunshine 45 But the rhyme scheme mimics the casket as a container, perhaps even stretching at its seams ABBA ABBA ABCCAB The stretch, the reach, seems Brooks s native tongue, and we as in this line rounding off the poem about Cousin Vit often reap the rewards In parks or alleys, comes haply on the verge Of happiness, haply hysterics Is 45. Understanding Oppression African American Rights Then and Now 50 Books That Every African American Should ReadBook of poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks that was published in 1949, and for which she received the Pulitzer Prize in 1950 This made her the first African American to ever receive a Pulitzer Prize. Not my Lipton Okay I read GB in high school and a bit in undergrad as well, and I didn t quite latch onto it There was something a bit pedestrian about the format At the time, I was into contemporary poets who wrote very freely, without rules and with very abstract themes Upon returning to GB and her Pulitzer Prize winning collection, Annie Allen, I really was able to dig in and understand her genius She takes the simple, the everyday life of this black woman, and really magnifies the various layers of complexity underneath her simplistic exterior There s some deep stuff here that takes a minute to sink in the poems start off deceptively simple and then become quite lyrical and dense. I did not enjoy this book at all, but I think it is my lack of understand poetry.