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

Couplets with Internal Rhyme 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 ha...

Speaker

Perhaps we'd better let Brooks speak for herself here:"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 b...

Setting

A Pool Hall in the South Side of Chicago, the late 1950sBrooks 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 he...

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

Portraits of the Urban PoorBrooks'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, desc...

Tough-O-Meter

(2) Sea Level"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 Ju...

Brain Snacks

Brooks was born in Kansas but raised in Chicago. Her father was a janitor; her mother, a schoolteacher. (Source)Brooks said of the popularity of "We Real Cool": "Most young people know me only by t...

Sex Rating

PG-13We 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 innu...

Shout Outs

Pop CultureJazz (line 7)

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