Gwendolyn Brooks

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Describe Gwendolyn Brooks' voice as a poet. Some examples, you know the drill.

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Gwendolyn Brooks' voice, as a poet, is multifunctional and multidimensional. Depending upon the focus of the poem, Brooks' voice can be soothing or demanding, angry or calm, happy or sad.

Her voice changes dramatically given the piece, the emotional pull, or the mood which she establishes so precisely.

Brooks seems to personify the essence of whatever character she is exampling in her poems. Typically, the voices of the poor in the inner city explode from the lines.

One example of her inner city voice appears in the poem "We Real Cool."

We real cool. We / Left school. We / Lurk late. We / Strike straight. We / Sing sin. We / Thin gin. We / Jazz June. We / Die soon.

Here, Brooks personifies the voices of pool players. An engaged and active reader can see the mental image the voices of the pool players create in the mind. Definitively, Brooks has not only given the pool players a voice, she has also given them a physicality in appearance.

In "The Good Man," Brooks offers a very different voice. Here, readers can see woman talking about what makes a man good. Here, Brooks provides a list of characteristics which make a god man. The poem's voice, and therefore Brooks', offers a much different feel than the previous poem. Instead, the voice in "The Good Man" comes from the soul, not the ego (as in "We Real Cool"). The poem's mood depicts one of pride, one of religious connotations, intense emotion, and sermon-like appeal.

One last example of Brooks' voice can be found in "The Crazy Woman." Here, Brooks' offers a very sentimental view on womanhood. Brooks is the speaker in the poem, as denoted by "I," and one can feel the sorrow she feels upon making the choice when to and when not to sing. Given the fact that she does not sing when it is expected, Brooks is found to be crazy. In reality, Brooks is not crazy. She is simply making a decision for herself about her own life. She does not care what others think. This poem shows her absolute strength.


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