‘but we unsure whether we’re cool or not’: Gwendolyn Brooks Imitations

Students read Gwendolyn Brooks’ classic poem, ‘We Real Cool’ before crafting their own ‘cool’ poems using their own words and ideas for what is cool, rhyme repetition, and the short form.

We Real Cool

by Gwendolyn Brooks

               The Pool Players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We

            Left school. We

            Lurk late. We

            Strike straight. We

            Sing sin. We

            Thin gin. We

            Jazz June. We

            Die soon.

Lesson Note:  “Well, I’m a poet, but I’ve also worked in libraries and in institutions like the Schomburg Center that seeks to understand and convey the power of Black culture. Poets are often making connections between things, and that’s also what a museum does. It connects us to conversations, it confronts us with artifacts and history in ways that poetry does. And it also reminds us of our roles in the world and with each other. In other words, it asks us to think about our humanity. Great museums and great poetry do that in different, but complementary ways.”-Poet, Kevin Young, editor of ‘African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song’  to Oprah Daily, April 30th, 2021.

Ms. Wright, 7th Grade

Non-Rhyming with Cool



by Yihan M.

The flowers bloomed,

All around the room.

Up so high

There’s so much room to fly.

Birds, flew

and the flowers grew.


It’s too cool

but is it worth the truth?

to stand and be on a stool

In front of everyone and share about the cruel.



Jayden H.

The friends, we               two at the school.             We are really cool. We                                                                                                              at school with great grades. We                                                                                                                                                                                     lurk in the shadows and have fun                       at recess with the sun out.                                                         It isn’t the sports we play nor is our clothes that we wear that makes us cool.                             Maybe it could be our personalities,                       but we unsure if we’re cool or not but it doesn’t really matter. We friends at each                   other’s side.

Ms. Wright, 8th Grade

My favorite things

Emily W.

Do the books I read glisten in the sunlight?

Oh how dedicated I am

Does head knocking like those 20-year-old planks

Do the plants fetching in the wind as I open a window

Do my eyes zoom out like camera lenses?

I am cool, not if

Who are you to say I’m not?

If I were to blend in with you, would you consider me cool?

If my hair was as silky as theirs, would you?

Cool, cool, cool

We live and die cool


by Anthony W.F.

Im so cool

Cause I don’t drool

Im so cool

I follow rules

Im so cool

I don’t skip school

Im so cool 

I play pool

Im so cool

Cuz I’m so cool



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.