I'm a poet, and I've studied some of Mrs. Brooks works in college. There is much that I can and will learn from her. Rest in peace. (Acts 24:15)
Gwendolyn was a great poet and writer. She wil be missed.
I did not know that Gwendolyn Brook died. I am very sad of hearing it today. I admired her strength and dedication to the african american community. She will be missed.
Not many can radiate
her zawadi smile--
a gift from the depth
of her essence--
a smile with the corners
of her mouth
She embodied a spirit
clear to her mission
and motivating children
She inspired them to soar
on validated self esteem
they might otherwise not have
She battled as regally as
Nzingah and Aminah
shattering Moynihan myths
that belied a blueprint for
destruction of our families
And whether we were dim
or fully developed children
we salute her legacy
knowing she recognized
each of us...all of us
we loved her too
The Leaving of Gwendolyn Brooks
Conduct your blooming in the noise and whip of
It was all too fitting
That they had to dig through
A brutally thick ice-white blanket, and past
A stinging blizzard that even turned
Raised eyebrows white
To find the warmer, moist black soil
In which to properly bury
What made it wondrous,though, were
All those blooming leaves.
Now we know why
The leaves wouldn't leave
On time this year.
No, they weren't lazy
All their colors spent,
Their greens, golds, vibrant oranges
Now all brown and tan, some even black.
They held on for dear life
Into early December.
Just hanging around
Out on a limb after limb
Precarious but prickly
Fragile but stubborn
Defying tradition, their place,
Refusing to fall on time
Making front page headlines
In the Chicago Tribune
For daring to stick around.
What is it that they want?
Gwendolyn Brooks must
Have loved those leaves
For holding on.
Now she has fallen
Moved on down and up
Passed on and into, leaving
Her precisely passionate poetry
Sweetly defiant, prickly
Assertive, putting words
Where they hadn't belonged
Beyond bleak, neglecting
So on her funeral day
A white whirlwind only she could sing
A white icy whip of a wind
Blew buckets of sticky, cottony snow
Into every crack in the city, every alley,
Every squinting eyelid.
Even boots, tight woolen caps
Large bookish eye-glasses
Could not protect
The storm's furious beauty
Painting drab brownstones white
Turning alleys into frozen arctic seas
Even amid rows of now white castles
The trees dominated
Every trunk whitewashed
Every branch a Japanese painting
Every leaf an award-winning photograph.
And finally the leaves,
(Now they were Gwen's leaves
For she had led a workshop
The night before)
Joined the fury
Jumped off and into
Danced circles around and through
Those clumsy, falling
Clumps of snow
Some even jumped
Of that enormous, brutal, thick, cold, white blanket
Keeping it funky,
From being too white,
Depth of contrast,
Fresh new meaning, like
Words on what tried to be
A blank page.
Some audacious leaves,
Gwen's best pupils,
Jumped in the grave
She had invited them.
It was a proper burial.
More than proper.
It was her latest poem.
Hank De Zutter
Reading and teaching your poems has been one of the truly enrichening experiences of my life.
THE DEATH OF GWENDOLYN BROOKS BLAKELY IS A TRUE LOST TO THE BLACK
AMERICA. I WILL NEVER FORGET ALL THE STUDIES IN SCHOOL ABOUT HER.
I NEVER HAD THE GOOD TASK OF MEETING
HER IN PERSON. BUT MY STUDIES AND HISTORY ON HER WILL REMAIN A LEGACY.
I learned about Gwendolyn Brooks' death over the internet via a listserv email, and I was devastated. Tears immediately came to my eyes, but because I was at work at the time, I could only exclaim my grief. Co-workers rushed to my side, asking what was wrong, and with eyes bright, I told them that one of the best Black female writers of all time had passed. Unfortunately, only one of them knew who she was and my grief became exasperated. How could these HBCU graduates not know who Gwendolyn Brooks was?
I first became acquainted with Brooks at a very young age when I was meddling in my mother's bookcase and pulled out Dudley Randell's Black Poets. I was immediately fascinated because even at that age, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Gwendolyn Brooks (as well as Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni) spoke to me like no other poets in the text. My love for her work continued to grow, and the year of my fifteenth birthday, my mother gifted me with an autographed copy of Maud Martha. With this novella, the desire to pursue my life-long dream of writing tripled. I was already becoming discouraged with the idea of writing poetry only, and when I saw the intimacy and power within Maud Martha, I knew that I could expand as well. Brooks' ability to retain her skill with imagery and impact took my breath away, and I know that will always be reaching for the goals she has left behind.
Losing Gwendolyn Brooks physically is a pain the entire Black community, writers or not, will continue to feel for many years to come, but her legacy and spiritual presence will cease to exist only when time does. I will consider it an honor and a pleasure to pass on my collection of Gwendolyn Brooks' works to my children and stress to them the importance and the need to pass it on to theirs.
Gwendolyn Brooks... thank you.
To a Black Woman
when I was twelve
a teacher brought you into my tiny
ignoring my sister’s sloppiness
disregarding the beaten up blanket
on my broken down bed
you told me stories
somewhere in some city
a lonely couple sat over a plate of beans
in some pool hall in an unnamed town
young men like my neighbors
wasted away their lives
proud to be so cool
destined to die much too soon
(one day maybe I will be a poet)
you introduced me to this lady
who looked familiar
whose sister was “the pretty one” too
I felt less alone
like I had a friend
(can I be a writer?)
I am a woman now
a writer who is mad
surprised by your selfishness
how dare you say goodbye
before I could say thank you
May your transition be as peaceful as your soul appeared to be to me .You reminded me of my aunt Didda whom I loved dearly.Your words shall be remebered.
What manner of woman was she? Gwendolyn Brooks was our teacher and friend. She loved and celebrated black people and black life, and she taught us that it was all right and necessary to love our black selves. She was a lover of humanity. I thank God for her example, for her service, for her body of work that will continue to energize, inspire, and guide us.
I will miss Miss Brooks.
Ms. Brooks inspired me as a young
child. She had a major impact on
my appreciation for poetry and I
will always admire her work and
introduce her writings to my children.
Decades ago, Gwendolyn Brooks established herself and earned her permanent place as a literary icon and canon in American Literaturre, where she shall remain, eternally, unmatched. I was inspired after being in the CSU classroom with her to write a proposal for an NEH grant, and received $18,000 for a project with teachers in 1992. My mission now is to make Gwendolyn Brooks a household name. I've started with my high school and college classes, and will extend. I encourage all to do the same. Haki Madhubuti referred to her as a 'living legend', we must see that the legend lives on . . .
What a blessing to have had your
beautiful life and spirit among us!
Rest in peace.
I will always think about the
ideas, the words, and the plans.
All of us who love words, who love
poetry, who love Chicago, who love
the South Side...
All of us who recognize the beauty
of an old couple, who feel the
strength of poor people, who find
the extraordinary in the ordinary...
Will miss Ms. Gwendolyn Elizabeth
I'm so sorry to hear about your
lost. Mrs. Brooks was a great woman.
I attended the funeral and it was
beautiful. Have faith and know that
the Lord is there for you.
For the many visits she made to
various branches of the Chicago
Public Library but especially her
visits to the Carter G. Woodson
Regional Library. We will hold fond
memories of her persona and her