“We Real Cool”

“We Real Cool”

By Gwendolyn Brooks

woman wearing blue jacket sitting on chair near table reading books
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woman wearing red shirt drinking
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We real cool. We

Left school. We

luna neon signage on top of building entrance
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Lurk late. We

Strike straight. We

people rallying carrying on strike signage
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alcohol bar black background close up
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Sing sin. We

Thin gin. We

person in black shirt playing brass colored saxophone
Photo by Ruca Souza on Pexels.com

Jazz June. We

Die soon.

grey skulls piled on ground
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Thought Questions

  1.  Who stays out late?
  2.  Who likes to strike?
  3.  Who is singing “sin!”?
  4.  Who is thinning out the gin? What is thinning out the gin?
  5.  What happens to the ones who drop out of school, stay out late, cause trouble by striking, indulge in sin and encourage others to do so, and drink a lot of gin?
  6.   What do you think “jazz June” means?
  7.   Who is she trying to reach?
  8.   Who do you think should be reading this poetry?




Gwendolyn Brooks was born in 1917 and died in 2000. She was the first African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize and the Poet Laureate of Illinois.  She was unusual for her day because many in her generation didn’t attend college, but she did. She lived in Chicago, Illinois and wrote about everyday life around her.

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