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"Reading is important. Read between the lines. Don't swallow everything."
This oversized postcard is a reproduction (offset printed, NOT letterpress) of "Warning Signs," part of the ongoing Dead Feminists broadside series. This piece is a collaboration between Chandler O'Leary of Anagram Press and Jessica Spring of Springtide Press, in honor of Black History Month 2011 and the might of the written word.
The large letterpress poster is now sold out (because it was created in a limited edition, we won't be reprinting the original poster), but this postcard faithfully reproduces the hand-lettered typography and hand-drawn illustrations of the original poster.
Gwendolyn Brooks was never one to pull a punch; she faced and shed light on the most uncomfortable truths with bravery and eloquence. In tribute to her courage, "Warning Signs" is a riot of color, glowing like an urban beacon. Flashing neon and spattered graffiti confront us, sounding the alarm with every word. Beneath the current of fluorescence runs a blood-red calico pattern of violence and cruelty—a tapestry that forms the unfortunate warp to the weft of our past and present. And behind the graffiti reads the first stanza of Brooks's poem, "A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, a Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon," about the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till.
For the full text of the poem, please visit:
Gwendolyn Tamika Elizabeth Brooks (1917 – 2000) grew up in Bronzeville, a neighborhood on Chicago's South Side where she "wrote about what I saw and heard on the street." Brooks published her first poem at age 13, and by 17 was a regular contributor to "Chicago Defender's" poetry column. Her first book, "A Street in Bronzeville," was published in 1945, bringing critical acclaim and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1950 she became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for her second book, "Annie Allen." After attending a Black Writer's Conference at Fisk University in 1967, Brooks said she "rediscovered her blackness," reflected through "In The Mecca," a book-length poem about a mother's search for her child lost in a Chicago housing project. Her work became leaner, more sharply focused, and she committed to publish only with independent African-American presses. Declaring "I want to write poems that will be non-compromising," Brooks continued to confront issues of race, gender and class.
As a teacher, poet laureate of Illinois and as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress, Brooks encouraged young poets through school visits and inner-city readings, bringing poetry to the people she spent her life writing about. She sponsored and hosted numerous literary awards, often with her own funds, committed to the idea that "poetry is life distilled." Illustrated by Chandler O'Leary and printed by Jessica Spring, searching for clarity through a calico of misinformation, pernicious stereotypes and untold stories.
Postcard size: 5 x 8 inches
PLEASE NOTE: this oversized postcard requires extra postage. It mails at the regular letter rate (currently 46 cents) within the U.S.
PAPER FINISH: this postcard is made from paper with a smooth, eggshell finish. If you write on it, we recommend using either a ballpoint pen or some form of permanent, smear-proof ink.
This original artwork is copyright Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring 2011. Copyright is not transferable with the sale of this piece. The buyer is not entitled to reproduction rights.
WA state residents are subject to sales tax.
This postcard will ship flat in a protective mailer.
Learn more about each artist: