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We Real Cool

We Real Cool

by Gwendolyn Brooks

We Real Cool Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Apart from its subtitle ("THE POOL PLAYERS/SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL"), "We Real Cool" has four stanzas, each of which is a two-line couplet. Every word in the poem has only one syllable. While ma...


"I wrote ['We Real Cool'] because I was passing by a pool hall in my community one afternoon during school time, and I saw, therein, a little bunch of boys – I say here in this poem, seven &#...


Brooks once said that she was thinking of a certain pool hall in her hometown of Chicago when she wrote this poem (source). As we read and hear "We Real Cool," our imaginations are set on fire. We...

Sound Check

Before reading this section, you've got to listen to Brooks reading the poem herself, which you can do at Poets.org.Is it different from how you imagined it? We could sit and listen to her say, "Se...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of this poem is the same as the first line. It lets us know that the speaker will be imitating the voice of a group of young men in Chicago. The title's musical qualities make it particul...

Calling Card

Brooks's poetry draws heavily on her native Chicago. It focuses attention on poor, simple city dwellers. In another one of her poems, "The Bean Eaters," for example, describes a couple living in a...


"We Real Cool" is written in everyday language, and it achieves its effect primarily through its glittering, jazzy tone. There are ambiguities and questions, like exactly what "Jazz June" means, bu...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

We wonder what these boys are doing until "late" at night, and we're curious about exactly which "sins" (5) they are celebrating. But Brooks isn't going to give us any more than clues and innuendo....

Shout Outs

Jazz (line 7)

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