Prison poetry is part of a rich and vibrant literary movement. The Prison Poetry Workshop team wants to share the multimedia materials folks have shared with us as we have traveled the country and combed our nation's archives. From handwritten poems to old video footage from homemovie collections we share the power and beauty of prison poetry as we dig deeper into each of the stories we cover or share something that couldn't make it into the series.
While in prison Etheridge Knight corresponded with the revered poet Gwendolyn Brooks. In this 1986 talk with Alan Jabbour, director of the Library of Congress' American Folklore division, and E. Ethelbert Miller, poet and director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University Brook's shares some background on her life Brooks was the Library of Congress' 29th consultant in poetry, and tells the story in this program of winning the Pulitzer at age 32, and getting the phone call in the dark because the electric company had cut off their power because they couldn't afford to pay the bill. She recites "We Real Cool," a poem she says has lasted because of its "insouciance and staccato effect."
Waiting for Etheridge Knight when he was released from prison was poet Gwendolen Brooks. Here we share with you the essential Brooks with "We Real Cool."