Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson

Memoir in verse, telling the stories of Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood. The poems impart an impressionistic narrative, focused more on the small moments amidst the larger transitions — like the end of her parents’ relationship, moving with her mother and siblings to her grandparents’ home in Greenville, SC, then moving again to Brooklyn — and on the gradual development of Woodson’s path to becoming a writer. Since it’s written from her perspective as a child, it’s published as a middle reader book, but it’s a beautifully rich experience for grown-up readers too.

Writing #1

It’s easier to make up stories

than it is to write them down. When I speak,

the words come pouring out of me. The story

wakes up and walks all over the room, Sits in a chair,

crosses one leg over the other, says,

Let me introduce myself. Then just starts going on and on.

But as I bend over my composition notebook,

only my name

comes quickly. Each letter, neatly printed

between the pale blue lines. Then white

space and air and me wondering, How do I

spell introduce? Trying again and again

until there is nothing but pink

bits of eraser and a hole now

where a story should be.

more from this author