2017 marks the centennial of the birth of Gwendolyn E. Brooks, Illinois Poet Laureate and the first black winner of the Pulitzer Prize. In celebration, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library has launched a new and interactive Story Map Journal website chronicling events across Illinois celebrating Brooks at go.library.illinois.edu/StoryMapJournal .
The Story Map website was officially unveiled on the anniversary of Brooks’s birth, June 7. It highlights continuities between Brooks’s past and present by layering the evidence of her work to promote a love of poetry in Illinois with the work of libraries and schools around the state to celebrate her in 2017. The website is part of The Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s Brooks@100 festivities.
The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is linking selections from its Gwendolyn Brooks Papers to relevant archival materials and memories contributed or held by other institutions in the state using the Story Map website.
“We hope to connect potential attendees to events related to Gwendolyn Brooks, and Brooks-minded library folks to each other through the site,” said Curator Anna Chen. “We envision this as an ongoing, collaborative, and expansive project.”
In addition to the Story Map, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library has loaned out selections from Brooks’s personal archives to the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, IL, for its “Matter in the Margins: Gwendolyn Brooks at 100” exhibition. The exhibit runs through August 25, 2017. More information is located at www.poetryfoundation.org .
To learn more about the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, visit library.illinois.edu/rbx .