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They were supportive of their daughter’s passion for reading and writing.
Brooks was 13 when her first published poem, “Eventide,” appeared in a newspaper serving Chicago’s African American population.
I don’t want to stop a concern with words doing good jobs, which has always been a concern of mine, but I want to write poems that will be meaningful…
things that will touch them.” Brooks’s work was objective about human nature, several reviewers observed.
Bambara noted that it “is not a sustained dramatic narrative for the nosey, being neither the confessions of a private woman poet or the usual sort of mahogany-desk memoir public personages inflict upon the populace at the first sign of a cardiac…
Janet Overmeyer noted in the that Brooks’s “particular, outstanding, genius is her unsentimental regard and respect for all human beings…
She neither foolishly pities nor condemns—she creates.” Overmeyer continued, “From her poet’s craft bursts a whole gallery of wholly alive persons, preening, squabbling, loving, weeping; many a novelist cannot do so well in ten times the space.” Littlejohn maintained that Brooks achieves this effect through a high “degree of artistic control,” further relating, “The words, lines, and arrangements have been worked and worked and worked again into poised exactness: the unexpected apt metaphor, the mock-colloquial asides amid jewelled phrases, the half-ironic repetitions—she knows it all.” More important, Brooks’s objective treatment of issues such as poverty and racism “produces genuine emotional tension,” the critic wrote.
Although critic called “raw power and roughness,” several commentators emphasized that these poems are neither bitter nor vengeful.
Instead, according to Cook, they are more “about bitterness” than bitter in themselves.