Study Guide

the mother Calling Card

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Calling Card

Voicing the Unvoiced

Our pal Gwendolyn Brooks is famous for a whole lot of things, chief among them her butt-kicking poems and her knack for representing silenced populations. Throughout her career, Brooks was dedicated to portraying under-represented peoples in her poetry—from the African American working poor of Chicago, to women who have had abortions. (Check out "Kitchenette Building" and "We Real Cool" for some examples.) When Brooks wrote "the mother," abortion was a hot-button issue; to admit to having had one was risky, if not downright unsafe. Brooks bravely gave voice to the hopes, dreams, feelings, of many groups of people, and she refused to whitewash them. She considered the bad along with the good, the corrupt along with the noble and painted a new, more accurate portrait of American life in her poetry. Now how about them apples?

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