Gwendolyn Brooks


Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas, on June 7, 1917, and raised in Chicago. She was the author of more than twenty books of poetry, including Children Coming Home (The David Co., 1991); Blacks (The David Co., 1987); To Disembark (Third World Press, 1981); The Near-Johannesburg Boy and Other Poems (The David Co., 1986); Riot (Broadside Press, 1969); In the Mecca (Harper & Row, 1968); The Bean Eaters (Harper, 1960); Annie Allen (Harper, 1949), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize; and A Street in Bronzeville (Harper & Brothers, 1945). She also wrote numerous other books including a novel, Maud Martha (Harper, 1953), and Report from Part One: An Autobiography (Broadside Press, 1972), and edited Jump Bad: A New Chicago Anthology (Broadside Press, 1971). In 1968 she was named poet laureate for the state of Illinois. In 1985, she was the first black woman appointed as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a post now known as Poet Laureate. She also received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation. She lived in Chicago until her death on December 3, 2000. Source

The Egg Boiler

Being you, you cut your poetry from wood.

The boiling of an egg is heavy art.

You come upon it as an artist should,

With rich-eyed passion, and with straining heart.

We fools, we cut our poems out of air.

Night color, wind soprano, and such stuff.

And sometimes weightlessness is much to bear.

You mock it, though, you name it Not Enough.

The egg, spooned gently to the avid pan,

And left the strick three minute, or the four,

Is your Enough and art for any man.

We fools give courteous ear--then cut some more,

Shaping a gorgeous Nothingness from cloud.

You watch us, eat your egg, and laugh aloud.





Literary Movements:

Chicago Black Renaissance

Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica


Poetic Form

Literary Devices:

End Rhyme

when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem

Iambic Pentameter

a line of verse composed of five iambs– an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (u / u / u / u / u /) commonly used in the Renaissance period


correspondence of sound between words or the endings of words, especially when these are used at the ends of lines of poetry


A poem with fourteen lines that traditionally uses a fixed rhyme scheme and meter.

Transferred Epithet

When an adjective usually used to describe one thing is transferred to another.