CELEBRATING AMERICAN SHE-POETS (23): Gwendolyn Brooks, Journalist, Poet, Living in the along …


“Live not for Battles Won.
Live not for The-End-of-the-Song.
Live in the along.”
Report from Part One

There is so much about Gwendolyn Brooks and her work that is remarkable and goes beyond the awards and acknowledgements, though these are many and prestigious and often firsts for her gender and race.

In 1968 Gwendolyn Brooks was named Poet Laureate of Illinois. In 1985, she was the first Black woman appointed U.S. Poet Laureate, known then as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas, but within a few weeks of her birth her family moved to Chicago, Illinois, her true roots and the source material for her poetry. She lived in Chicago until her death in December 2000. According to the family and friends who surrounded her at the end, she died as she lived with pencil in hand.


“But in the crowding darkness not a word did they say.
Though the pretty-coated birds had piped so lightly all the day.
And he had seen the lovers in the little side streets.
And she had heard the morning stories clogged with sweets.
It was quite a time for loving. It was midnight. It was May.
But in the crowding darknesss not a word did they say.”
Old Marrieds

Gwendolyn’s first poem was published in a children’s magazine when she was thirteen years old. By the time she was sixteen 75 poems were published. Her first collection, A Street In Bronzville, was published in 1945. She never completed college because she saw herself as a poet and not a scholar. Maybe this is one reason why her poetry is so unselfconscious and down-to-earth.  There’s no posturing. It’s real and readable.  She experimented with many poetic forms and is known for her innovations to the sonnet. She seems to have invented a few forms of her own. Though her subject matter is serious and always compassionate and practical, often compellingly spiritual, she can – and often is – funny, even Suessian on occasion.

In writing of a particular time, place and people – as a journalist poet (a phrase she coined) – she not only chronicled the soul and lives of a people, she captured the essence of the eternals – the follies, the challenges, the good, the loving and the enduring – in the human condition, in the human soul … “To be in love,” she wrote, “is to touch things with a lighter hand.”

Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies.
And be it gash or gold it will not come
Again in this identical disguise.
Annie Allen

Was she a student of Eastern mystics or Meister Eckhart? I rather doubt it. What we have here is a good woman writing from the perspective of her own sacred space, her refined intelligence and her acute observation and imagination. She certainly also writes out of the deep love she has for her people, the exploration of the complexities of being Black in America, and her rootedness and familiarity with the South Side of Chicago. I unreservedly recommend Gwendolyn Brooks for the sheer pleasure of her poetry, for some more understanding of the Black experience in America if you are not Black, for a connection with your roots if you are Black, for your understanding of your own soul and for your education as a poet.  If you haven’t met her yet, do so as soon as you can. A good place to start is with The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks from the American Poetry Project. It has a fine introduction by Elizabeth Alexander.


John, Who Is Poor
Give him a berry, boys, when you may
And, girls, some mint when you can
And do not ask when his hunger will end
Nor yet when it began
(From Bronzeville Boys and Girls, 1956)


We Real Cool

“We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.”

― Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks, Journalist Poet, reads We Real Cool (If you are viewing this post from an email, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to see it.)

“She was learning to love moments. To love moments for themselves.”
Gwendolyn Brooks

© 2016, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; poems, Gwendolyn Brooks  estate; photograph of “Winnie” stone is in the public domain

Japanese-American Poet and Photojournalist, Jun Fujita, is the focus of Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation Exhibition

Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of Graham and Pamela Lee private collection. More photographs HERE.

The November sky without a star
Droops low over the midnight street;
On the pale pavement, cautiously
A leaf moves.
– Jun Fujita

Groundbreaking poet and photojournalist Jun Fujita is the focus of a new exhibition presented by the Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation. A multi-media experience comprising poetry, photographs, personal correspondence and archival artifacts, Jun Fujita: American Visionary explores the life and career of one of Chicago’s master chroniclers.

As the first Japanese American photojournalist, Fujita captured many of the most infamous moments in Chicago history, including the Eastland Disaster, the 1919 race riots and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. As an English-language poet writing in the Japanese tanka tradition, his poems appeared regularly in Poetry magazine, published in Chicago since 1912.

Jun Fujita was a visionary ahead of his time, both in his visual and written art forms, as well as his contemporary 45-year partnership with Florence Carr,” said Katherine Litwin, Poetry Foundation library director and exhibition cocurator. “We’re honored to partner with the Newberry to further expand and unfold the layers of his life and Chicago legacy through this exhibition.”

As anti-Japanese xenophobia crested during World War II, Fujita faced hostility, prejudice, and persecution. The U.S. government declared him an “enemy alien,” and his assets were frozen. Yet despite this adversity, Fujita achieved unprecedented success in his profession and offered an alternative model of what it means to be “American.”

“Jun Fujita put forth a vision for what’s possible, particularly love, acceptance, and sanctuary in a place bent on exclusion,” adds Fred Sasaki, Poetry art director and exhibition curator.

Morning Woods
A static mood, in the morning woods
Wet and clear –
In a majestic pattern, leaves are spellbound
By a fawn, ears perked.

JUN FUJITA was born Junnosuke Fujita on 13 December 1888 in Nishimura, a village near Hiroshima, Japan. When he was older, Fujita moved from Japan to Canada, where he worked odd jobs to save enough money to move to the United States of America, which he considered to be a “land of opportunity.” He moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he attended and graduated from Wendell Phillips Academy High School, a four-year predominantly African-American public school whose notable alumni include Nat “King” Cole, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Archibald Carey, Jr. Following his high school graduation, he studied mathematics at the Armour Institute of Technology, which later became the Illinois Institute of Technology, with plans to become an engineer. To help pay his way through college, Fujita took a job as the first and only photojournalist at the Chicago Evening Post, which later became the Chicago Daily News. MORE [Wikipedia]

Read more of Jun Fujita’s poetry HERE at Poetry Foundation. His collection is available through Amazon but is unfortunately prohibitively priced. It is not available through the Gutenberg Project or Internet Archive. Poems and journal articles about Fujita’s photography are accessible at JSTOR HERE.

Jun Fujita: American Visionary runs from January 24 through March 31 at the Newberry. The exhibition is free and open to all.

Throughout the exhibition, a series of related public programs will further explore its major themes. These programs include:

Curator Talk with Katherine Litwin, Fred Sasaki, and Graham Lee
Tuesday, February 4, at 6:00 PM

The Love and Life of Jun Fujita
Thursday, February 13, at 6:00 PM

Photographic Memory: Carlos Javier Ortiz Reflects on Jun Fujita’s Iconic Images
Tuesday, March 10, at 6:00 PM


This post is compiled courtesy of the Poetry Foundation, Wikipedia, and Amazon. The poems are courtesy of Poetry Foundation in concert with JSTOR.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at facebook.com/poetryfoundation,  Twitter @PoetryFound and @Poetrymagazine, and Instagram @PoetryFoundation.

About the Newberry Library
At the Newberry Library, visitors and researchers explore centuries of human history, from the Middle Ages to the present. The library’s collection—some 1.6 million books, 600,000 maps, and 5 million manuscript pages—is accessible to all in Newberry reading rooms, program spaces, exhibition galleries, and online digital resources. Since its founding in 1887, the Newberry has remained dedicated to deepening our collective understanding of ourselves, others, and the world around us. As individuals engage with Newberry collections and staff, they discover stories that bridge the past and present and illuminate the human condition.

Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!


For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Opportunity Knocks: 11 Calls for Submissions and 3 Competitions

Davoser Café by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1928 / Public Domain

“But as Brillat-Savarin has correctly observed, coffee sets the blood in motion and stimulates the muscles; it accelerates the digestive processes, chases away sleep, and gives us the capacity to engage a little longer in the exercise of our intellects. It is on this last point, in particular, that I want to add my personal experience to Brillat-Savarin’s observations.” Honoré de Balzac, The Pleasures and Pain of Coffee [This links to the complete essay translated from the French.]

Of Note: 

Gwendolyn Brooks was born on this day in 1917: Celebrating American She-Poets (23): Gwendolyn Brooks, Journalist, Poet, living in the along …

Opportunity Knocks replaces Sunday Announcements. I post it when there are enough leads. Many leads are only announced on The Poet by Day Facebook Page.

Links to articles, events and news of interest to poets and writers are regularly published on The Poet by Day FaceBook Page.  

You are welcome (encouraged) to share your work and announcements on The BeZine Arts and Humanities Facebook Group Discussion Page

MARK YOU CALENDAR: SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 is 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE, GLOBAL, 2019 and THE BeZINE 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE VIRTUAL EVENT, hosted by Michael Dickel.  Look for updates on this site, The BeZine,  and at 100tpc.org

Join us for this week’s WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT, How to Be a Poet; poems submitted on theme in response to Wednesday Writing Prompt are posted the following Tuesday, making a lovely collection for poets and readers.   

“THE BeZINE” CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS thebezine.com is open for the upcoming June edition to be published on June 15, deadline June 10. This is an entirely volunteer effort, a mission. We are unable to pay contributors but neither do we charge for submissions or subscriptions. The theme is sustainability. We publish poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, feature articles, art and photography, and music videos and will consider anything that lends itself to online posting. There are no demographic restrictions. We do not publish work that promotes hatred or advocates for violence. All such will be immediately rejected. We’d like to see work that doesn’t just point to problems but that suggests solutions. We are also interested in initiatives happening in your community – no matter where in the world – that might be easily picked up by other communities. Please forward your submissions to bardogroup@gmail.com No odd formatting. Submit work in the body of your email along with a BRIEF bio. Work submitted via Facebook or message will not be considered for publication. We encourage you to submit work in your first language, but it must be accompanied by translation into English. / Jamie Dedes

THE BANGALOR REVIEW is a monthly digital magazine promoting literature, arts, culture, criticism, and philosophy through the publication of literary fiction, creative non-fiction, reviews, criticism, poetry and art. “If you happen to be in love with life and think that your words can generate a vision, send us a shout – we’ll probably like your work.” Submission fee. Honorarium to one contributor each quarter. Details HERE

THE FABULIST publishes fables, yearns, tales and fantastical very and art in both digital and print editions. Submissions close on Tuesday, June 10. Details HERE.

eFICTION INDIA publishes fiction, flash fiction, poetry, art, interviews and book reviews. It provides a few unique services: ad listings for writers, free ad listings for contributing writer, assistance with film distribution in accepted after review. No submissions fees except for the premium level (i.e., accelerated response) under Independent Film. Details HERE.

HIRAM POETRY REVIEW, Distinctive, witty, and heroic poetry since 1966 reads submission year-round. No submission fee. U.S. poets submit by snail-mail. International poets may submit by email.  Details HERE.

NEW OHIO REVIEW will open for submission of poems, short stories and essays on September 15.  Submission fee and discounted one-year subscription. Mark your calendar. Details HERE.

THE PASSED NOTE REVIEW is a digital publication offering fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and visual arts for young adults ages twelve through nineteen. This press also publishes shrt fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry for its blog. Details HERE.

POETS READING THE NEWS publishes unsolicited and original poetry and prose about current events from around the world and “encourages writers of all backgrounds to submit their writing, in particular writers of color, women writers, emergent writers, LGBTQI+ writers, and writers from regions near and far.” Submission fee. No payment. Details HERE.

POETS READING THE NEWS STONEWALL RIOTS POETRY CHALLENGE ends in a scant three days as of this posting.  It’s an ekphrastic challenge. No fee. No payment. Details HERE.

SNAIL MAIL NATURE TRAIL, Youth Art and Poetry, Nature Journal from Tiny Seed Literary Press focuses on post card submissions from children and youth. Cute! If you have young children, please do check it out HERE.

TINY SEED LITERARY JOURNAL focuses on nature and publishes short fiction, poetry, art, and photography by established and emerging writers & artists. Submissions for the fall issue (September publication) open July 15. Submission fee. 10% goes to Nature Conservancy. No payment. Details HERE.


University of Sydney, School of Literature, Art and Media:

THE HELEN ANNE BELL POETRY BEQUEST AWARD 2019 offers cash award and publication with Vagabond Press for a winning collection by an Australian Women over 18 years.  No entry fee. Closes August 2, 2019. Details HERE.

THE DAVID HAROLD TRIBE FICTION PRIZE 2019 offers a generous cash award to a writer living in Australia. Publication. No entry fee. Closes on August 2, 2019. Details HERE.

TIFERET JOURNAL, Fostering Peace Through Literature & Art has extended the closing date on this year’s contest to June 14. $1,500 will be awarded in prizes: $500 for the best poetry submission; $500 for the best short story (fiction); and, $500 for the best essay or interview (non-fiction. Entry fee. Details HERE.


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton



Live not for Battles Won.
Live not for The-End-of-the-Song.
Live in the along.

Gwendolyn Brooks, Report from Part One


Let’s make sure we can keep on keeping on ….

Michael Rothenberg II's photo.

Cofounder Michael Rothenberg, is celebrating his birthday by asking for donations to 100 Thousand Poets for Change. He’s chosen this nonprofitContinue Reading

$58 raised of $500 at the time of this posting.

100 Thousand Poets for Change
US 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization


Opportunity Knocks

COPPER CANYON PRESS, a nonprofit dedicated to the publication of poetry collections and cofounded by Sam Hamill, opens for submissions at least twice yearly. Watch the site.  Submission fee/reading fee is $35, which includes two books of your choice. Details HERE.

FIYAH, Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, opens for submissions (including speculative poetry)  to Issue #11 from April 1, 2019 – April 30, 2019.  Paying market. Details HERE.

THE GOOD MEN PROJECT, “The conversation no one else is having.”™ explores the changing roles of men in the 21st century has a top twenty-five calls for submission that are always open. Details HERE.

GREY HEN PRESS publishes poetry by older women, largely in its themed anthologies. Details HERE.

THE HEDGEHOG POETRY PRESS, The Home of Arfur & the Sticklebacks, is open continually for submissions of up to five poems.  Details HERE.

THE SHORE POETRY, an online publication, is open for submissions to its Spring 2019 issue through March 1, 2019.  No submission fee. No payment. Details HERE.

SYRACUSE CULTURAL WORKERS, Speaking for Justice ~ Giving Voice to Resistance since 1982 has open calls for submission of art for its 2020 peace calendar. Deadline March 15, 2019. Paying market. Details HERE.


THE BeZINE Be Inspired. Be Creative. Be Peace. Be.


Opportunity Knocks

Submissions deadline for the March issue – themed Waging Peace – is March 10  at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard.

Please send text in the body of the email not as an attachment. Send photographs or illustrations as attachments. No google docs or Dropbox or other such. No rich text.

Send submissions to bardogroup@gmail.com.

Publication is March 15th. Poetry, essays, fiction and creative nonfiction, art and photography, music (videos or essays), and whatever lends itself to online presentation is welcome for consideration.

No demographic restrictions.

Please read at least one issue.

We DO NOT publish anything that promotes hate, divisiveness or violence or that is scornful or in any way dismissive of “other” peoples. 

The BeZine is an entirely volunteer effort, a mission. It is not a paying market but neither does it charge submission or subscription fees.

Previously published work may be submitted IF you hold the copyright. Submissions from beginning and emerging artists as well as pro are encouraged and we have a special interest in getting more submissions of short stores, feature articles, music videos and art for consideration.



Deadline for participation – all encouraged no matter the status of your career – is Monday evening at 8:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Photograph Beautiful Old Lady from Darap (Sikkim) Village courtesy of Sukanto Debnathfrom Hyderabad, India under licensed  Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic.


Opportunity Knocks

Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize is awarded annually in memory of this Kashmiri-American  poet, sponsored by the University of Utah Department of English and the University of Utah Press, $25 entry feel. Cash award and publication of collection. Deadline: April 15, 2019. Details HERE

Alice James Award for poetry will open in April . Cash award and publication. Details HERE.

Autumn House Poetry Contest  offers poetry and fiction awards for full-length book manuscripts. Cash award and publication. Travel grant to promote book. Deadline: June 30, 2019. Details HERE.

Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prize opens on July 15. Reading fee: $28. Cash award and publication. Details HERE.


Accessible anytime from anywhere in the world:

The Poet by Day always available online with poems, poets and writers, news and information.

The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, online every week (except for vacation) and all are invited to take part no matter the stage of career or status. Poems related to the challenge of the week (always theme based not form based) are published here on the following Tuesday.

The Poet by Day, Sunday Announcements. Every week (except for vacation) opportunity knocks for poets and writers. Due to other weekend commitments, this post will often go up late.

THE BeZINE, Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be – always online HERE.  

Beguine Again, daily inspiration and spiritual practice  – always online HERE.  Beguine Again is the sister site to The BeZine.

YOUR SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS may be emailed to thepoetbyday@gmail.com. Please do so at least a week in advance.

If you would like me to consider reviewing your book, chapbook, magazine or film, here are some general guidelines:

  • send PDF to thepoetbyday@gmail.com (Note: I have a backlog of six or seven months, so at this writing I suggest you wait until June 2018 to forward anything.Thank you!)
  • nothing that foments hate or misunderstanding
  • nothing violent or encouraging of violence
  • English only, though Spanish is okay if accompanied by translation
  • your book or other product  should be easy for readers to find through your site or other venues.



PLEASE do not mix the communications between the two emails.

Often information is just thatinformation– and not necessarily recommendation. I haven’t worked with all the publications or other organizations featured in my regular Sunday Announcements or other announcements shared on this site. Awards and contests are often (generally) a means to generate income, publicity and marketing mailing lists for the host organizations, some of which are more reputable than others. I rarely attend events anymore. Caveat Emptor: Please be sure to verify information for yourself before submitting work, buying products, paying fees or attending events et al.


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