A Poet Cooks

February 8, 2017


Gwendolyn Brooks would never have called herself a food writer. The Pulitzer-prize winner was one of the most decorated poets in American history. She published 75 poems before the age of 16, and was Poet Laureate of Illinois for 32 years.

She wrote only one novel, but it contains one of the most arresting descriptions of cooking that I know. 



Brooks was part of the great migration; when she was six weeks old her parents packed up their Kansas life and moved the family north to Chicago. Having escaped Jim Crow she became part of the Chicago Black Renaissance, getting to know great writers like Langston Hughes. Brooks returned the favor, mentoring many young poets. Among her many students were poets Sonia Sanchez, Don L. Lee and Nikki Giovanni (not to mention members of the street gang, the Blackstone Rangers).

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  • Marcella says:

    Since I have a tender stomach, this is not my favorite one of your blogs but having said that I still enjoyed reading it.

  • Marty Skomal says:

    I fondly remember Gwendolyn Brooks reading her poetry in the 1970s at Webster College in St. Louis, when I was a freshman there. It was something you don’t Forget! She signed my anthology and I still treasure that book.

  • Hayley says:

    Thank you for highlighting Gwendolyn Brooks! Thank you for all of your writing and expressions and opinions. You are doing important work and I appreciate you and your blog. Thank you, Ruth