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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

Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your question!

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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwendolyn_Brooks

[2] We Real Cool. In Wikipedia. Retrieved on October, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Real_Cool

[3] "An Interview with Gwendolyn Brooks" in Contemporary Literature 11:1 (Winter 1970). Retrieved on October, 2015. Available on-line, from  http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/brooks/werealcool.htm

Please let me know if you need any other question.
Oct 4th, 2015

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