Competition Ends 1st September 2020 5:35pm

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Tyrant of Words
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Poetry Contest

CLASSIC CORNER: Gwendolyn Brooks

Co-Hosts - Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze

Welcome back to the Classic Corner Competitions, Part XXXI, in an ongoing series introducing serious writers of DUP to the most famous classical and modern poets of our time.

Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas, on June 7, 1917, and raised in Chicago. She was the author of more than twenty books of poetry, including Children Coming Home (The David Co., 1991); Blacks (The David Co., 1987); To Disembark (Third World Press, 1981); The Near-Johannesburg Boy and Other Poems (The David Co., 1986); Riot (Broadside Press, 1969); In the Mecca (Harper & Row, 1968); The Bean Eaters (Harper, 1960); Annie Allen (Harper, 1949), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize; and A Street in Bronzeville (Harper & Brothers, 1945).

She also wrote numerous other books including a novel, Maud Martha (Harper, 1953), and Report from Part One: An Autobiography (Broadside Press, 1972), and edited Jump Bad: A New Chicago Anthology (Broadside Press, 1971).

In 1968 she was named poet laureate for the state of Illinois. In 1985, she was the first black woman appointed as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a post now known as Poet Laureate. She also received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation. She lived in Chicago until her death on December 3, 2000.


Write a new poem honoring Brooks inspired by any one of her poems.

Do NOT copy paste your poem to the competition, it must be linked to your page with the below information.

Do your best to make us feel as though we are reading poems by Brooks. The more we feel you "capturing her essence" in "your own words" , the higher you will score. This will involve choice of wording, delivery, subject material, formatting, target audience, ambiguity - a wide range of factors.    

The Rules

1. Two entries per DUP persona.    

2. No extreme erotica; this is open to all ages and can't be viewed with an ECW ( Extreme Content Warning ).    

3. No exact word limit; however, attempt to keep it no more than 250 - 300.    

4. Any form is acceptable ( but studying the poet is advised ).    

* EDITED * 5. You must select #GwendolynBrooks in your themes. The theme page will automatically generate as soon as eight entrants hashtag the theme. Make sure you hashtag her in your themes or you will be disqualified.

6. In your Author's note, provide a link to the poem by Brooks that inspired yours. Without this, we have no way of determining if you were truly inspired by Brooks, or simply swapped fresh words into her existing poetry and form, which could be considered plagiarism.

Comp will be judged by Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze. As in the past and in the event there is a tie, we will call in third ( and possibly fourth ) judge.

You have one month; best of luck to all entrants!

Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
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Greetings, CCC followers. Rule No. 5 has been edited to reflect the creation of #GwendolynBrooks theme by Webmiss ( thank you for all your hard work, Webmiss )!  Thusly, all entries must be themed to quality.

Thank you and carry on.

Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 7090

Aspects of Joy in a Strange Land

After Gwendolyn Brooks  
There it was—      
after twelve hours of ocean      
and incandescent clouds:      
sewn patchwork of color      
beyond the portal      
of a plane's window        
Momentarily gone        
—American melancholy        
hovering so far from home      
I was six—      
a whimper amid adult dialogue;      
my teacup tongue, rattling    
against saucer lips—      
my father, statuesque        
Footing, steep metal steps      
clinking; laughter propelling        
across the concourse—        
teeth in the wind        
Holiday! mustn't end!      
Familiar foreigners—      
aspects of joy in a strange land        
No! stay to. . .together!      
hap. .. hap. . .happiness!      
my tongue, rattling—      
no one listened;        
buses, cars      
drove separate directions        
We travelled northeast        
toward the coast      
stopping once at a station—      
skipping, lollipop return      
joyful . . .      
as two children      
in a stranger dialogue        
"Hey! Yankee!        
Go home!"
Written by Ahavati
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Non-entry entry

Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 20th Mar 2015
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[ Classic Corner ] Charity's Child

Young, I was --- poor because
of being born on tha track side
where no one would even consider
dumping their white trailer trash.  
But, older now. And we're rollin
init. Never mind how. Ain't stolen!
Believe me when I say that I
worked my ass off to earn it,
Mama. Just look at all this cash.
I'm bringin home bank, see?
You don't need to thank me;
only have to put it to good use.
The abuse and heartache
we had no choice but to take?
Those days are behind us.
God shut tha door on that shit
and He opened a window.
And someday I'll let you know
what I do for a living, but until then,
let see about finding ourselves
some real estate with a beautiful  
big front yard.  
Everyone needs a dream  
to look forward to when
those bay window curtains open
and it sure as hell is not tha damn
L Train.
Written by JohnnyBlaze
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non-entry entry

Twisted Dreamer
United States
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Joined 22nd July 2020
Forum Posts: 42

We Real Cool

Wind catching our hair as we walk down the street
Bodies covered, curves showing, hips moving to their own beat

We real cool

No makeup no weaves bask in our natural beauty
Not even tempted when guys call us cutie

We real cool

 Not looking for that next screw
Take care of our bodies like it's a jewel

Don't blend in with crowds
Brownskin sisters rocking their crowns

We real cool

Written by Poems4me
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Thought Provoker
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Joined 16th Feb 2020
Forum Posts: 56

The Bean Eaters...Gwendolyn Brooks

Caught in the sameness, a maize in the fog
they move slowly through, feeling their way
only to meet themselves around each corner.                
The journey is cruel, snags in the path, faith in each other                                           
their only support in the patchwork of life.
But time is relentless....Fears and tears, joy and sorrow,                                  
It shows us the past but laughs at the future.
Suddenly the fog clears, who are these old people partaking alone in                         
the sadness, surrounded by the remnants of a lifetime of struggle..                  
They survived the maize only to meet themselves again in twilights
dark corner of a place called nowhere,
Written by anvinvil (Anvillan)
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Thought Provoker
United States
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Joined 16th Feb 2020
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A Sunset of the City... Gwendolyn Brooks

Time has done its job, my aura and attraction    
have faded with the setting of the sun.  
Abandoned by that which made life real,  
I sit alone in the stillness where once beautiful    
chaos reigned.    
I feel the isolation, the threats of uncertainty and    
the unknown.    
They rip and tear at my heart, memories bleed
into a vessel, never to be reclaimed, yet held.    
I wander now, like a ghost from the past    
with all the memories but none of the trappings.    
The battle field is still and barren, where once    
there was life, however fleeting...    
Was my home my purpose? Did it define me or just    
accent my existence. Now it’s gone but I’m still here.    
I shout, I’m me! Not even my echo answers.    
I go through the motions of a being without    
being. My thoughts no longer match the world I knew.    
Time hums it sad refrain,” I told you so... “.
Written by anvinvil (Anvillan)
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Thought Provoker
United States
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Joined 4th Apr 2019
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set out pots to catch the leaks

money's gone until next week

baby's room is hot as hell

fill the sink to get him chill

beans and cornbread

powdered moo

Peanut butter

Kool-aid, too

poor weren't never all that bad

hand-me-downs just make me sad

ricky's big ol' jeans ain't cool

fight them bullies after school

mom, i want a BB gun

shoot their butts and make 'em run
Written by javalini
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