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

Gwendolyn Brooks' voice as a poet

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 even changes dramatically within a given 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. what do u guys think... some examples

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vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

For an example of two especially rich and complex poems by Brooks, I recommend "the mother" and "The Chicago Defender Sends a Man to Little Rock."  These works deal with complicated issues (abortion and racial tensions) in complicated ways. Brooks is not a mere propagandist (at least not in these works) but is a complex artist worthy of the name.

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

This excerpt from Critical Survey of Poetry sheds light upon your meaning of poetic voice, or the voice of the poet, and therefore, upon the answer to your question:

While Jones changed his name to Amiri Baraka and radically altered his poetic voice, Brooks accommodated her new insights to her previously established style.

In the beginning of her career as a poet, Brooks adopted a traditional style of poetic form. It was through the resulting poetic voice that she expressed her poetry, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950 for Annie Allen, her second volume of poetry that was published in 1949. With the dawn of the 1960s militant African American anti-racism movement, Brooks experienced a shift in vision, specifically as a result of a 1967 conference at Fisk University. From then on out, though Brooks still insisted upon her established style, with elevated language and traditional form, Brooks' poetic voice altered to reflect her new vision of poetry directed wholly toward an African American audience.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Students often confuse speaker with the poet. The speaker is the character narrating the poem. My favorite of her poems is "we real cool" because the voice of her speaker comes out loud and clear with only a few simple words. The ending, for example, describes the helplessness of the impoverished urban youth, after a celebration of their apparent freewheeling and carefree attitude throughout the poem.
billybob156's profile pic

billybob156 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

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Gwendolyn Brooks' voice as a poet

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 even changes dramatically within a given 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. what do u guys think... some examples

use examples from the hadie scott poems, sadie and maud, mathiew cole, and hunchback girl.  that would help very much

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