John Ulrich, a student at the Massachusets College of Art and Design, reads Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem, ”We Real Cool," which speaks to him and his generation in the depressed neighborhood of South Boston where so many young friends and neighbors have taken their own lives. In four verses of two rhyming lines each, the poem evokes rebelliousness, youth, the seven deadly sins, and mortality. "We Real Cool" was written in 1959 and published in Brooks' third collection of poetry, "The Bean Eaters," in 1960. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (June 7, 1917 – December 3, 2000) was an American poet, author, and teacher who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 for a volume titled "Annie Allen." Watch and listen as Ulrich recites the poem that tells his story.


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  • Jane

    I am inspired how one young man was moved by the difficulties he saw around him to make changes for other young people, and by the power of poetry to transcend time and all barriers, to reach people and move them to action. The power of poetry and the arts to heal is evident throughout.

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