Gwendolyn Brooks, American poet, was born June 7, 1917 and died December 3, 2000. Though a prolific poet who published volumes of work, this brief eight-line verse is the poem most often found in anthologies and textbooks. THE POOL PLAYERS. SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL. We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon. Go here to hear Ms. Brooks explain how she came to write this poem, which you may also hear her read.