Conversations with Gwendolyn Brooks features sparkling interviews with one of America's most valued poets. Throughout this book, which spans three decades, Brooks (1917-2000) speaks with simplicity, depth, candor, and passion about the making of a poem and about the position of the poet in humane society.
A poem, she believed, comes from the heart. In each interview, she speaks from the heart and wins over the reader. The interviews took place in various settings-in radio recording studios and in university classrooms, in the coveted spotlight of a National Endowment for the Humanities celebration, and in the intimacy of her living room.
Regardless of place or audience, Brooks speaks with humility. She was the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and to receive other coveted honors, and yet she sees herself as "an ordinary human being who is impelled to write poetry."
Brooks explains her experience within the creative process. She does not believe in a Muse. With gratitude to the Black Arts Movement, she celebrates both her blackness and the people in Bronzeville, the fictional community she created and whose lives she "put down" on paper.
Including interviews conducted by Studs Terkel and poet Haki Madhubuti, among others, Conversations with Gwendolyn Brooks underscores the legacy of one of the nation's most brilliant and humane poets.
Gloria Wade Gayles is Eminent Scholar's Chair in Independent Study, Scholarship, and Service at Spelman College. She is the author of several books-including "My Soul Is a Witness": African American Women's Spirituality and No Crystal Stair: Visions of Race and Gender in Black Women's Fiction.