Quote by Gwendolyn Brooks “I am a writer perhaps because I am not a talker.” Background image is raindrops on a window pane.

Dark Angels Note 151

Dearest Friends

Welcome back to our weekly Friday Note.



This week marks the birthday of American poet Gwendolyn Brooks (7 June 1917 – 3 December 2000).

Encouraged by her parents to write, her poem Eventide was published in a children’s magazine when she was 13.

She went on to be one of the most widely read and influential poets, and was the first African American poet to win a Pulitzer Prize.  Among her other honours, she won a Guggenheim Fellowship and was Poet Laureate for the state of Illinois.

One of our favourite Brooks poems is We Real Cool – which is so cool it spawned a new poetic form, the Golden Shovel.



“And I don’t know a great deal about art myself…”

When Picasso created a giant sculpture for the Daley Plaza in Chicago, Brooks was commissioned to write a poem for its unveiling.

Read her poem Chicago’s Picasso and her explanation about it here.



In the above article, Brooks talks about working in the presence of art and that it’s not always easy to explain.

Find a sculpture to look at. In a book, out and about, or in a gallery. Observe it for a few minutes and consider it at face value.

What do you like about it and why?

How do your close observations lead you to a more meaningful understanding about the aesthetic presentation?

And maybe try to write a Golden Shovel of your own. We’d love to see them.





Writing What We Hear, 8 September 2023

Join us for a one-day workshop in Highgate Woods to explore what it means to really listen, and to see how we can use whatever we hear as inspiration for writing.

All the earlybird tickets have sold, but there are some regular tickets still available. And there is still one scholar place left for anyone who feels they can’t afford the normal ticket price just now – if you think you fit the bill, please don’t be shy in claiming this spot.

Get your tickets here.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings

Join us for a reflective hour of reading, writing and communing led by Neil Baker. Everyone is welcome – from the Dark Angels community and beyond. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance.




Keep sending us your poems, writings, links and writerly whatnots that you’d like to share with the wider Dark Angels family. We love to read them.

Here is a piece from Janet Wilkes, a regular at our Tuesday gatherings. It’s from her latest collection, The Loom of Memory. Janet has published the book in memory of Keith, her late husband, and to raise funds for Blesma, a charity that supports veterans who have lost limbs. If her beautiful poem touches you, please consider making a donation: www.blesma.org.




Walking along the shore with the

Wind behind me and mist spraying

My face I see grey splashes of

Salt water rising in front of

Me and falling sheer like a bird

From a tree on a winter’s day.

 Could this be the same sea-side I

Remember from long ago when,

As children, we raced the ponies

Along the sand under the pier

 And, rememb’ring the incoming

Tide, clambered up over the rocks

And sea-weed until the green slime

Slithered through our fingernails and

We stood, valiant-like, upon

The craggy summit, surveying

All of the land we thought was ours?



Could this cold, grey place with the big

Wheel, that once went round and round with

Happy music but that now stands

Motionless and quiet, and with its

Boarded shops and empty pavements,

Be the same as the place in my

Memory? Or is it I who

Can no longer see it as some-

Where new and exciting, nor want

To linger along the shore with

The wind behind me and a mist

In my face, nor be reminded

Of how long ago it was? But

Only wish to give thanks for that

Time of innocence and fun that

We had all those years ago and

For the beach life and the big wheel

Beside the sea when we were young.