This new volume by a distinguished modern poet, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1950, brings together the best of her work from three earlier books now out of print (A Street in Bronzevile, Annie Allen, The Bean Eaters) and includes a section of new poems which have not appeared before in book form. Selected Poems reaffirms impressively Miss Brook's rich and varied giftsher technical mastery, her compassionate, illuminating response to a world that is both special and universal, her warm humanity.
In "A Critical Reassessment," which appeared in The Nation in 1962, Harvey Curtis Webster, of the University of Louisville, wrote in part:
"Gwendolyn Brooks has never denied her engagement in the contemporary situation or been over-obsessed by it. In her engagement she resembles Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Margaret Walker. IN her ability to see through the temporal she equals Richard Wright, James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison, writers of fiction who accept Negro-ness as prizeable differentiation and a dilemma, include it to transcend it...Like all good writers she acknowledges Now by verifying it accepts herself and the distinguishing background that is part of her distinction. But she refuses to let Negro-ness limit her humanity...
"She is a very good poet, the only superlative I dare use in our time of misusage; compares not to other Negro poets or other women poets but to the best modern poets, she ranks huigh." [via]