Gwendolyn Brooks Panel: Reflecting on a Chicago Legend

This is a hybrid event, which will be offered in-person and via livestream.

Nora Brooks Blakely, a former teacher, founded Chocolate Chips Theatre Company (1982–2011) and was its primary playwright. The daughter of two writers, Henry Blakely (Windy Place) and Gwendolyn Brooks (the first Black person to win the Pulitzer Prize), Brooks Blakely founded Brooks Permissions in 2001 to license and promote her mother’s work through programming and publications that demonstrate Gwendolyn Brooks’s continuing relevance. After writing plays and musicals for decades, she recently released her first children’s book, Moyenda and The Golden Heart, a Kwanzaa origin tale. Learn more at

Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti—poet, author, publisher, and educator—is regarded as an architect of the Black Arts Movement and is the founder and publisher of Chicago's Third World Press. Madhubuti has published more than 36 books, including Think Black; Black Pride; Don’t Cry, Scream; and We Walk the Way of the New World . His poetry and essays have been selected for more than 100 anthologies. The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities have recognized his poetry, and he has won anAmerican Book Award, Illinois Arts Council Award, Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award, and Hurston/Wright Legacy Prize in poetry for Liberation Narratives. His latest book, Taught By Women: Poems as Resistance Language, New and Selected, published in 2020, pays homage to the women who influenced him. Madhubuti is a recipient of the 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

Kelly Norman Ellis is the author of Tougaloo Blues and Offerings of Desire; her poetry has appeared in Sisterfire: Black Womanist Fiction and PoetrySpirit and FlameRole Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and ArtBoomer GirlsESSENCE, Obsidian, Calyx, and Cornbread Nation. She is a recipient of a Kentucky Foundation for Women writer’s grant and is a Cave Canem fellow and founding member of the Affrilachian Poets. Ellis is an associate professor of English and creative writing and chairperson for the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Literatures at Chicago State University.

In-Person Attendance

All guests over the age of two must wear a mask inside the Poetry Foundation building. If you will not comply with this requirement, you will not be granted entry to the event. Please note that some performers may choose to perform without a mask. Guests are encouraged to register in advance.

Livestream Attendance

The livestream link will be shared with registered guests on the day of the event. In order to receive the livestream details, please register in advance here.

The Poetry Foundation’s events are completely free of charge and open to the public. This event will include CART captioning and ASL interpretation.