Grateful for Ms. Brooks
As a thirty-plus-year subscriber to Poets & Writers Magazine, I have relished all the issues but have never written a letter to the editor. That changed as I devoured every word of Major Jackson’s “Anatomy of a Pulitzer Prize Letter” (May/June 2017). Poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the subject of the piece, was an occasional instructor at Chicago Teachers College–North, where I attended in the mid-1960s. I was lucky enough to be her student in the only creative writing class offered there at the time. I believe that every one of us in the class valued the experience; we were in awe of Brooks as a teacher and a writer. She was encouraging, nurturing, and generous. We once requested that she read a poem of her own, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget her rendition of “We Real Cool.” Seven years after the class, I applied to graduate school. Brooks had given us her home phone number and told us to call anytime, and with great trepidation, I did. She answered, remembered me, and said she would be pleased to write a letter of support. I am forever grateful that she was my first writing teacher.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Thanks @Poet_Major and @poetswritersinc for a wonderful essay on Gwendolyn Brooks and the @PulitzerPrize—so much to think about.
Great stuff! Loved learning more about Gwendolyn Brooks, one of my hometown faves.
“Anatomy of a Pulitzer Prize Letter” in @poetswritersinc is such an interesting, insightful read.
Emily Paige Wilson
The Power of Praise
Every issue of Poets & Writers Magazine gives me something useful to ponder. In “Tell Me I’m Good: The Writer’s Quest for Reassurance” (May/June 2017), Laura Maylene Walter puts her finger on a problem for many of us who live the writing life. No matter how many loyal friends and loving relatives read and compliment our work, we do not quite believe them, so we turn to the professionals and feel even more vulnerable. Why? “Get over it,” I say. Thanks for including such a fine piece. I loved it.
Rays of Hope
A very generous mentor recently gifted me a subscription to Poets & Writers Magazine, and I have enjoyed the issues I have received so far. I am incarcerated, and I write as a means of rehabilitation and personal growth. I hope a future issue of the magazine features an article highlighting markets that accept the work of incarcerated writers. I appreciate that the March/April 2017 Literary MagNet featured fiction writer Deb Olin Unferth, who assists incarcerated writers here at the John B. Connally Unit in Texas, and that Columbia Journal has opened its annual contest to incarcerated writers. These are two bright rays of hope for imprisoned writers. However, if the publishing world knew of the abundance and depth of talent residing in America’s prisons, we might soon have not just a few rays of hope for us, but many. Thank you for your commitment to writers.
“The Writers Studio at Thirty” (May/June 2017) by Christine Koubek incorrectly stated that Monica Banks cofounded the Writers Studio. In fact, Banks started working at the Studio in 1994, seven years after it was founded by Philip Schultz.