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An essential collection, On Gwendolyn Brooks gathers reviews and essays addressing the art and career of Gwendolyn Brooks. Best known for her poetry, Brooks also wrote essays, fiction, and children's collections that garnered critical acclaim.
Brooks began her literary career writing verses for the Chicago Defender, a community newspaper serving the black neighborhood in which she spent much of her life. From this community come many of the images, parlances, and cadences that richly flavor her work. In 1968, she succeeded Carl Sandburg as Poet Laureate of Illinois. From her Pulitzer Prize-winning volume A Street in Bronzeville to later works such as In the Mecca, Brooks is recognized as an important and accessible voice in contemporary American letters. She received two Guggenheim Fellowships and served as Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress.
Wright's collection gathers essays and reviews from a remarkable range of sources, from long out-of-print journals to the New Yorker. Similarly, it draws from an eclectic group of writers, ranging from Eleanor Holmes Norton to Louis Simpson. Its essays and reviews reveal Brooks as a poet who, despite her vast knowledge and classical leanings, remains even after her death a voice of and for the people.
Stephen Caldwell Wright is Professor of English, Seminole Community College.