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I chose this poem because of what it says in the few words the poet chose to use. For Mrs. Brooks to be the exciting person she is says a lot. For her to write something that looks as simple as The Pool Players, Seven at the Golden Shovel, meant that there had to be a deep meaning in the few words that she chose to use in this poem. Looking for something in her past that helped to make sense of this short passionate piece led me to something from The Oxford Companion to African-American Literature.

The ambiguity of her role as a black poet can be illustrated by her participation in two events in Chicago. In 1967 Brooks, who wrote the commemorative ode for the “Chicago Picasso,” attended the unveiling ceremony along with social and business dignitaries. The poem was well received even though such lines as “Art hurts. Art urges voyages . . . ” made some uncomfortable. Less than two weeks later there was the dedication of the mural known as “The Wall of Respect” at 43rd and Langley streets, in the heart of the black neighborhood.

The social and business elites of Chicago were not present, but for this event Gwendolyn Brooks wrote “The Wall. ” In a measure these two poems illustrate the dichotomy of a divided city, but they also exemplify Brooks’s ability both to bridge those divisions and to utilize nonstrident protest (http://www. english. uiuc. edu/ Maps/poets/a_f/brooks/life. htm). Is there any real substance to short poetry? When Mrs.

Brooks is writing, you can bet there is. Also, if she had any opportunity to influence someone’s writing or fervor for the arts, it would be interesting to see how they impact the corner of the world in which they live. She has definitely made an impact on me.


Williams, Kenny Jackson. (1997). Brook’s Life and Career. Retrieved 19 April 2007 from, http://www. english. uiuc. edu/Maps/poets/a_f/brooks/life. htm

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