Bronzeville Boys and Girls: Poetry and Art

Bronzeville Boys and Girls by Gwendolyn Brooks. HarperCollins, 1984.

Poems that celebrate childhood.

Brooks’ highly regional poems have universal appeal, transcending race and place. Who hasn’t felt as Rudolph has in, “Rudolph is Tired of the City”? And nearly every child has had the short-lived goldfish as in “Skipper”.

The poems, however, felt uneven, straining for rhyme and rhythm at times with unnatural sentence structures. Other times maintaining a smooth flow. “Beulah at Church” for example faltered in the final line, and “Eppie” seems to fizzle. But “Eldora Who is Rich” works both in rhythm and surprise. Perhaps my ear is poorly tuned for poetry, although even I couldn’t help but note and love “DeKover” and the “dancy little thing” of a star.