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Gwendolyn Brooks 1917-2000
Gwendolyn always had a true love for language. She published her first poem by age 13, and at age of 16 she got the chance to meet famous black riders James Walden Johnson and Langston Hughes, who both encourage her writing. Johnson became a mentor to her and urged her to read other poets, such as T. S. Elliott and Ezra Pound. Gwendolyn made a name for herself as a writer who focused on the black experience and highlighted the lives of ordinary black folks. In 1945, she published her first collection of poems about black life, titled a street in Bronzeville, which earned her significant critical acclaim. In 1949, she wrote another collection of Poems, about the coming of the age of black women, called Annie Allen. In 1950, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the most distinguished literary honor in the country. This made Gwendolyn the first African American woman to win the award. She loved the magic that different writing technique could produce, so she put all of her technical skills to work. It was unique piece of writing with complex wordplay and creative structure. She focused on small everyday problems to illuminate larger issues and themes, such as a woman's role in society. In the 1960s she was largely influenced by a group of Writers who had a strong desire to write poems for black people, by black people, and about black people. This affected her style, which soon became sparser and less technical. Gwendolyn's writing was always a reflection of the times and the world around her, most important, a reflection of the African American Experience.
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