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Gwendolyn Brooks' We Real Cool - Poetry Review

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by Juran Hakim (subscribe)
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Published June 19th 2014
(Courtesy of

The structure and form of this poem is the first aspect that stands out, the shortness and candidness is certainly on display even before the poem is first read, though meaning and understanding boldly resonates through once studied.

The composition and aesthetic, seemingly simplistic, on the contrary is far from it; undoubtedly taking into consideration the theme of the poem and what it is ideally talking about, the significance of it will urge the reader to read again and to be diligent in noting the wording and punctuation within the lines.

From looking at the title We Real Cool emits an array of vague connotations; the word 'real' showing the dichotomy of as opposed to what and why; a page upon itself. The word 'cool' opens up a cache of meanings such as merely owning a certain piece of clothing, to the way you speak and act etc.

As the poem progresses we are met by the impact from the lines 'We left school', 'We sing sin' and 'We die soon'; the layout of a beginning, middle and end is apparent to see in the poem.

Gwendolyn Brooks' poem represents a piece of the ideology of what life is often lived when the conventional choices such as school or an education is shunned.

Carelessness and a lack of faith bellows out from the prose and can surely be felt within the short but blunt stanzas. Idealism is shown; a life without work and all play, moreover reality, albeit harsh, is also evident with the brazen line 'We die soon'.
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