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“We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks, 1917 - 2000

  • What is the theme of the poem? How do you know this is the theme?

Oct 4th, 2015

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Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-200) was an African-American writer that was awarded the Pulitzer prize for poetry [1]. She published "We Real Cool" in The Bean Eaters [2]. The poem reads:

                     THE POOL PLAYERS.

                     SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL.
     We real cool. We 
     Left school. We 

     Lurk late. We
     Strike straight. We 

  Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon.

In an interview with Brooks [3], she states that the poem refers to a group of men, that may have dropout of school or that were instead of being in school playing pool. According to the same interview [3], Brooks admires poet Eliot's "Prufrock," but her poetry is not meant to follow his models or any other models.

[1] Gwendolyn Brooks. In Wikipedia. Retrieved on October, 2015, from

[2] We Real Cool. In Wikipedia. Retrieved on October, 2015, from

[3] "An Interview with Gwendolyn Brooks" in Contemporary Literature 11:1 (Winter 1970). Retrieved on October, 2015. Available on-line, from

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Oct 4th, 2015

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