Original poem reprinted online here: "We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks
Originally read: (a long time ago, but for this blog) February 18, 2013
More information about the Poet: Gwendolyn Brooks
I forgot that this poem was after the Richard Cory poem. Also I feel dumb because I didn't realize that bother had a 1st person collective narrative (we). Currently, I wonder why that aspect of the poem didn't draw me in.
I think one of the main reasons is the rhythm of the poem. Every sentence after the first stanza is only three words and they all start with "we." The repetition of "We" becomes more mesmerizing with each line that I get lost within the rhythm. Especially when Gwendolyn Brooks reading this.
Also in the link, she discussing the background influence of the poem and the sort of meaning of the poem. Furthermore, she also admits that this poem can be read in a different ways "Jazz can be looked at as a sexual reference." However, she doesn't dismisses the other ways of reading this poem.
There's not much for me to add here -- the rhythm of the poem matches the content of the poem as something simple and too the point. I want to add that the collective we deals with greater and darker scenes the further in the poem.
This is how I listed them:
1) "Real Cool" Group thought/reasoning/aspiration
2) "Left School" Leaving School (education/academics) for a life. [looking back, I think I took this line too seriously -- it could be that they leave school for the day -- which makes the end more tragic actually]
3) "Lurk Late" Change in schedule -- play at night, sleep during the day
4) "Strike Straight" -- Don't know, play pool? [I'd like to add that the "we" are focusing on Dionysian pursuits]
5) "Sing sin" (see above)
6) "Thin gin" [so the poem starts to become more sing songy here -- but I'm cool with it because it seems
like the "we" narrators are getting more and more drunk -- on drink, on freedom perhaps]
7) "Jazz June" Jazz as a verb? [So I can see why people would think "Jazz" would be another word for sex, because the function in the poem is a verb (or at least that's what I'm trained to look at)]
8) "Die Soon"
The last line doesn't come as a complete shock, but there's multiple tones in here. Since the poem can be seen as a Dionysian in a sense, there's a bit of sarcasm with the last line. Like saying, we're going to die soon, let's just keep going. Carpe Diem.
Or the last line could also be a realization that they will die soon and what good is school if death is imminent. I think this point of view brings a more social perspective to the piece because of the "we" narrative.