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Pool Players


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The Pool Players
Mary Bitela
ENG 125 Introduction to Literature
Instructor: Michelle Pinkard

I will be discussing The Pool Players a short poem written by African American
Gwendolyn Brooks. The three elements that I found interesting in this poem will be reviewed. The elements are image, tone, and symbol. I will explain how these elements affected my response to the poem all together. In addition also explain my reaction to the contents of this short poem. Along with clarifying if these elements caused me to focus on just one aspect of this poem over other poems. When I first read this short poem. I was baffled as to what it meant. I reread it several times and still cold not comprehend what it meant. Then I listened to the We Real Cool speech given by the author of The Pool Players Gwendolyn Brooks. She goes on describing how she was inspired to write this poem. Brooks goes on to explain how one day she was walking in her community one afternoon during school time. As Brooks was passing by a pool hall she saw a seven little boys shooting pool in that pool hall. “ Seven boys in a pool during school time. The pool players, seven at the Golden Shovel”, (Flynn, Richard, 2000, "The Kindergarten of New Consciousness": Gwendolyn Brooks and the Social Construction of Childhood). Retrieved from “ Brooks goes on to explain instead of asking herself, why are they not in school? She asked herself , I wonder how they feel about themselves? Did they consider themselves to be contemptuous of the pool hall? Brooks goes on to describe that it was the month of June. A month everyone loves”,(, Gwendolyn Brooks , 1960, The Bean Eaters). Retrieved from After listening to her speech it was then I could identify with the story of the poem. It all made sense to me now. The first few sentences of that poem reads We real cool. We left school. We lurk late. In my opinion Brooks thought to herself. The boys thought they were cool, because they left school. They would probably stay late playing pool. When in fact they should have been in school. The image I visualize from this poem is seven boys playing pool in a neighboring pool hall. They are having a blast ! Since they are not in school. The boys probably do think they are real cool. Presenting themselves to be young daredevils along with the bad boy image. Since it being the month of June as described. The day must be sunny and beautiful. The tone sets a different point of view for the author. Gwendolyn Brooks explains the tone as she goes on thinking to herself. Do they see themselves as contemptuous to the establishment? Brooks goes on to explain that they probably do see themselves as so. The symbol of this poem represents two meanings. The last sentences of this poem reads as follows. “ We strike Straight. We sing sin. We think Gin. We Jazz June. We die soon”, (Clugston, R. W. 2010. Section 9.2). When I read the second to the last sentence I thought to myself. Since it is the month of June people must have been outside the pool hall or nearby listening to Jazz music, Brooks goes on to make a similar statement. However, The Pool Players poem was actually banned to due the words “Jazz June” being mentioned. “The poem was banned for the line “Jazz June” which was taken to be a metaphor for sex, and in some cases sex with a woman named June”. Retrieved from In my opinion the last sentence “We die soon” ties into the other sentences, because we will one day die soon. “ Gwendolyn Brooks who illuminated the black experience in America in poems that spanned most of the 20th century, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1950”, (Watkins, Mel , Spring 2001, The Black Scholar). Retrieved from The poem’s image carries an involvement of strong comprehension. The tone expresses how the author puts across her point of view for the readers to understand. The symbol of the poem misrepresents “ Jazz June” as explained. This poem “ The Pool Players is definitely a classic.

Reference Page
Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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