Brooks, Gwendolyn


Born in Topeka, Kansas in 1917, Gwendolyn Brooks spent her childhood in Chicago, exploring race interactions in the several schools she attended. This childhood shaped much of her later work, which deals largely with race relations. Brooks taught at several colleges and universities, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the 1930s Brooks met and married poet Henry Blakely, with whom she had a daughter and a son. In 1950 she became the first black person to receive the Pulitzer Prize, and in 1968 she was named the Poet Laureate of Illinois. She received over 75 honorary degrees from various universities, and in December 2000 she lost a battle with cancer.

Selected Work

Title: Maud Martha: A Novel

Author: Gwendolyn Brooks

Publisher: Third World Press

Year: 1992

Format: Paperback; 180 pages; 21 cm x 14 cm

ISBN: 0883780615; 978-0883780619

MARC record

When Maud Martha Brown is seven years old, what she likes even better than “candy buttons, and books, ..and the west sky” are dandelions: “Yellow jewels for everyday studding the patched green dress of her back yard.” Maud Martha’s nine-year-old sister, Helen, is heart-catchingly beautiful; Maud Martha comforts herself with knowing that what is common – like the demurely pretty dandelion with “only ordinary allurements” – is also a flower. Through pithy and poetic chapter-moments – “spring landscape: detail,” “death of grandmother,” “first beau,” “low yellow,” “everybody will be surprised” – Maud Martha grows up, gets married, and gives birth to a daughter. Maud Martha, a gentle woman with “scraps of baffled hate in her, hate with no eyes, no smile…” who knows “while people did live they would be grand, would be glorious and brave, would have nimble hearts that would beat and beat,” is portrayed with exquisitely imaginative and tender detail. (from

Other Works

Blacks. Third World Press, 1994.

Bronzeville Boys and Girls. Illustrated by Faith Ringgold. Amistad, 2006.

The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves. Illustrated by Timothy Jones. Third World Press, 1974.

Aloneness. Broadside Press, 1971.

To Disembark. Third World Press, 1981.

Brooks has many other published works, many of which are collections of her poetry.


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