Religious Allusion in the Poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks


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About the Book

This book examines how Gwendolyn Brooks, a self-proclaimed nonreligious person, advocates adherence to Christian ideals through religious allusions in her poetry. The discussion integrates Brooks’ words, biographical data, commentary by other scholars, scriptural references, and doctrinal tenets. It identifies biblical figures and events and highlights Brooks’ effective use of the sermon genre, and her express parallels between Christianity and Democracy. The work opens with a biographical chapter and Brooks’ comments on religion, followed by analyses of her long poems, and more than thirty of her short ones. An illuminating interview with Nora Brooks Blakely about Brooks’ religious background and philosophy is included.

About the Author(s)

Margot Harper Banks is a professor of English at Kean University, Union, New Jersey, former chair of its Writer’s Series, where she met Gwendolyn Brooks in 2000, and former coordinator of the freshman College Composition Program for 24 years.

Bibliographic Details

Margot Harper Banks
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 211
Bibliographic Info: appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4939-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9075-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Prologue      3

1. The Life of the Poet      7
2. Brooks on Religion      30
3. “The Anniad”      37
4. In the Mecca      46
5. “In Emanuel’s Nightmare: Another Coming of Christ”      82
6. Sermons on the Warpland      87
7. “In Montgomery”      105
8. Short Poems: Depictions of God and Preachers      119
9. Short Poems: Sundays and Church      127
10. Short Poems: Religion and Contradiction      143

Conclusion      151
Coda: A Conversation with Nora Brooks Blakely      167
Appendix 1: Books by Brooks      187
Appendix 2: Selected Honors and Awards      189
Works Consulted      191
Index      197

Book Reviews & Awards

“readable, sharply focused…recommended”—Choice.