Gwendolyn’s Apprehension and We Real Cool

Categories: PoetryWe Real Cool

“We real cool/We Left School/We lurk late. We Strike straight/We Sing sin/We Thin gin/We Jazz June/we die soon.” These are the words from the famous poem “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks, one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. Brooks resided in Southside Chicago and wrote most of her poetry portraying the inner city life she witnessed on her corner. Mick Jenkins is a music artist from Southside Chicago as well putting out two albums titled “The Healing Component” and “Pieces of a Man”.

On this album, Jenkins indulged himself in the works of Mrs. Brooks and her poetry with a song called “Gwendolyn’s Apprehension”. Mick Jenkins makes correlations in “ Gwendolyn’s Apprehension” using metaphors describing his own future and his lie as a young man that ideally sync with the use of figurative language used by Brooks to illustrate the pool players in “ We Real Cool”.

Enjambment is “the continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza” according to Dictionary.

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com. This is the technique used by Brooks to portray this peculiar life of seven pool players that seem to oddly enough go against the grain of society’s view on young teenagers and education. Just to summarize the poem a bit, it is only eight lines long and tells of these radical teenagers hat seemed to have dropped out of school only to waste their days in the street or at “The Golden Shovel” playing pool, instead of making use of their youth getting an education and not end up in the clutches of poverty or death.

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Breaking down each line we start off with “We real cool”, this first line sets the tone for the rest of the poem symbolizing the pool player’s inner thoughts about themselves and how they view the situation they are in. That brings us to the second line “we left school”, the speakers are dropouts who appear to see no future for themselves – and along these lines no motivation to keep educating and preparing themselves up. “We strike straight” alludes to hitting with pool cues, yet may likewise indicate wrongdoing or brutality (‘striking’ with a weapon), either now or in the speakers’ future. The line “we sing sin” is a soul-filled line proposing both that the pool players delight in their own intemperance, yet additionally that maybe this abstraction takes exacting structure in melody. ‘Jazz June’ has an assortment of conceivable implications. The most clear is that the pool players experience each day like it’s mid-year (June) since they have no obligations, i.e., school. Every day is loaded with fun, music and enchantment, all ordinarily connected with the Jazz Age. The word “Jazz” also correlates with the tempo of the poem stylistically. “We die soon” is additionally the main line which remains solitary without the iconic repetition of ‘we”. This short line talks about death in a more formal sense.

The track “Gwendolyn’s Apprehension” by artist Mick Jenkins is based off Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem ‘We Real Cool’. Inside a contemporary focal point, Mick offers reflective and introspective verses rapping about his perspectives on the triviality of youth and his own decisions of living. What the majority esteem to be cool may not approve what he by and by discovers cool or amazing much like the minds of the pool players portrayed inside the poem. Jenkins makes connections with e poem itself with verses in his song that ultimately sheds a light on how he was in the same position as the pool players but figured out he isn’t a follower but only a unique individual that leads. Quoting the last few lines of his song, “You n****s be too cool for me/Too many social rules for me/that superficial s*** ain’t fooling me/I’m in the party and this n**** think he’s schooling me.” In my own understanding, Jenkins means that Mick starts to allude to Gwendolyn Brooks’ Poem ‘We Real Cool’ and clarifies that these people and gatherings trust that they are excessively cool for school and go about as though they are above or better than other people who don’t have a similar tier of swag or economic wellbeing. The irony is that these same people who “too cool for school” are being at these parties and in Brook’s poem, “The Golden Shovel going about as though they are teaching Mick on the most proficient method to be socially adept. Mick clarifies that he isn’t at all fooled or powered by a similar social strings that maneuver these people into this cycle which eventually prompts a speedy destruction of themselves and ultimately blocking them from success. Jenkins finishes that with the adapted line “ We die soon with your cool ass”.

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Gwendolyn’s Apprehension and We Real Cool. (2021, Sep 21). Retrieved from

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