Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (June 7, 1917 – December 3, 2000) was an American poet. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate—serves as the nation's official poet. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of...

 in 1985.
Gwendolyn Brooks was born on June 7, 1917, in Topeka, Kansas, to David Anderson Brooks and Keziah Wims, their first child. Her mother was a former school teacher who left teaching for marriage and motherhood, and her father, the son of a runaway slave
Fugitive slave
In the history of slavery in the United States, "fugitive slaves" were slaves who had escaped from their master to travel to a place where slavery was banned or illegal. Many went to northern territories including Pennsylvania and Massachusetts until the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed...

 who fought in the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, had given up his ambition to become a doctor
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

 to work as a janitor
A janitor or custodian is a professional who takes care of buildings, such as hospitals and schools. Janitors are responsible primarily for cleaning, and often some maintenance and security...

 because he could not afford to attend medical school
Medical school
A medical school is a tertiary educational institution—or part of such an institution—that teaches medicine. Degree programs offered at medical schools often include Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Bachelor/Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, master's degree, or other post-secondary...


It is brave to be involved To be not fearful to be unresolved.

"do not be afraid of no" from Annie Allen (1949)

Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies. And be it gash or gold it will not come Again in this identical guise.

"exhaust the little moment" from Annie Allen (1949)

Art hurts. Art urges voyages — and it is easier to stay at home.

"The Chicago Picasso" (1968)

When I start writing a poem, I don't think about models or about what anybody else in the world has done.

"An Interview with Gwendolyn Brooks", Contemporary Literature 11:1 (Winter 1970)

A writer should get as much education as possible, but just going to school is not enough; if it were, all owners of doctorates would be inspired writers.

Report From Part One (1972)

As you get older, you find that often the wheat, disentangling itself from the chaff, comes out to meet you.

Report From Part One (1972)

Art is a refining and evocative translation of the materials of the world.

Black Poetry Writing (1975)

Be careful what you swallow. Chew!

Advice to graduates, Buena Vista University Graduation (1995)

I am a writer perhaps because I am not a talker.

My Soul Looks Back, 'Less I Forget (1995) by Dorothy Winbush Riley