Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (1917 –2000) was the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1950 for Annie Allen, the tale of an African American girl’s transition from child to woman as she faces racism, war, death & ultimately falling in love.
Brooks was, like me, a Chicago native. she always wanted to be a poet & didn’t bother going to college because she thought it was unnecessary—to be a writer, she believed (& proved) all you have to do is write. she was already published at thirteen & as a young woman, she created poetry workshops for African American woman in Chicago’s South Side. Brooks helped lead a whole generation of black woman (& white male poets & reviewers) to realize that great poetry is universal & not restricted to any race, gender, age or class.
“we are each other’s harvest” reminds me, this holiday season, to be grateful for more than any material possessions I’ve accumulated—it’s the loved ones in my life who are my greatest wealth & bounty.