Too Cool For School: Gwendolyn Brooks-inspired Poems

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 often make connections between things, which is 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. Fernandez, 5th Grade

Our Slay Poem
by Giselle F.B.

The reason we slay
is because we save the day.

Our Dope Poem
by Jaylena D.

Our shoes are
dope, we wish
for hope
our fit is fire
we aim to inspire.

Our Lit Poem
by Aiden E.

We really sick we’re4
super lit.

The Fire Group
by Jade M.

We’re really
super lit

Our shoes we wear
they really fit.

The shoe is fire
the price is higher.

Our outfit is cool
we go with them to school

We are all together,
at the end, we’re really
not here.

by Melanie C.

We so lit
We are funny we are

Mr. Maciasz, 5th Grade

by Valerie L.

My shoes are very cool
They are an important tool

My hair is nice
My hair is clean and has no

by Alejandra N.

My impression is lit
My clothes are fit

My singing is fire
My staginess is messy.

Rosemary N.

My clothes are cool
but my mom thinks I’m
a fool

I feel lit
when I’m in a ball pit

Cool Poem
by Aleksandra B.

My clothes are cool
I’m on a stool

My pencil is the best
The paper was the test?

Cool List
by Sarahi C.

1. our clothes
2. we know many people
3. our way of being
4. being funny
5. we have fun

I’m Cool
by Mariana S.

I’m as happy as a dog
But my mind’s a fog

My clothes are cool
but I look like a fool

My shoes are lit
Yet they look like a pit.

Mrs. Respress, 5th Grade

Very Cool Poem
by Ariana S.

My drawings are very cool
The drawings are just trying to be a mule
My character is so lit
like chocolate chip mint
The markers are pecking the paper like a

by Natalie R.

My art is cool
My arr is lit
I use all the glue sticks
(and paint)

by Mellony S.

So lit
you shine so bright I’m
to cool foor skool

Our Cool Poem
by Jennifer G.

My persona is cool like ice
I’m on fire
People call me an angel because I play a lyre

My music is lit just like
how I’m fit.

Our Cool Poem
by Samantha M.

My art is lit

I use all the glue sticks

My painting is on fire

like an angel with its lyre.

by Isabella LR.

Stars do lit, the night sky
they are the hit, they shine like my brown eyes.



“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.