If you wanted a poem, you had only to look out of a window. There was material always, walking or running, fighting or screaming or singing.
Brooks’s first book of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville, was influenced by the people that she connected with and observed on the streets of her neighborhood in Chicago. In these poems, Brooks portrays scenes of urban Black daily life, a topic that was otherwise ignored in popular writing at the time. Her subjects are the preacher, the working woman, the married couple, the schoolgirl. Brooks’s empathetic treatment of the day-to-day lives of African American people, from dealing with systemic racism and poverty to celebratory moments of joy and love, paints intimate and relatable portraits of her community.