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Arts and Entertainment: Gwendolyn Brooks


American poet Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas in 1917. She grew up in Chicago and lived in that city until her death in 2000. Brooks's poems, technically accomplished and written in a variety of forms including quatrains, free verse, ballads, and sonnets, deal with the experience of being black and often of being female in America. She attracted critical attention with her first volume, A Street in Bronzeville. Brooks went on to win the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Annie Allen, becoming the first black woman to win this award. Her verse was collected in The World of Gwendolyn Brooks, which also includes an earlier novelette, Maud Martha. Her work took on a more radical tone beginning with In the Mecca; the subsequent poems in Riot are written in street dialects. Her other writings include Primer for Blacks and To Disembark.

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