Gwendolyn Brooks

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How did the Black Arts Movement impact on Gwendolyn Brook's poetry?

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Let us remember that the Black Arts Movement actually represented a real growth in African American literature, and through it African Americans were encouraged to start their own unique brand of literature. This movement was initiated by the assassination of Malcolm X. Gwendolyn Brooks herself spent most of her life in Chicago, placing herself firmly within the large African American population that lived there. Certainly, the impact of the Black Arts Movement encouraged her to write and to create a uniquely African American form of poetry. Gwendolyn Brooks is skilled in her work in giving voice to the natural speech rhythms of the residents of Chicago's South Side. In particular, we can perhaps link the Black Arts Movement and the poet's own desire to "state 'Negroes' not as curios but as people." You might like to consider a poem such as "We Real Cool" as being representative of the work of Gwendolyn Brooks. Not only does it give voice to the way of speaking of African Americans, it also captures the life and experience of young African Americans who have so little to live for.

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