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Gwendolyn Brooks is a bad mamma jamma. First she begins her career writing in straight verse, just like most of her white contemporaries. The literary elite likes her work so much that in 1950 she is awarded the Pulitzer (first black person ever). They figure they got themselves a safe Negro, one that’ll stick with the canon and the aesthetic (not like that Hughes boy). But Brooks knows what time it is, and come the ’60s her poetry shifts gears. She leaves the academy behind and hooks up with the angry young turks. Consequently, her poetry reflects several styles, including traditional metered work and straight-off-the-block free verse. This Friday, Brooks comes to the Folger, further demonstrating that she is one of the few writers who gets props from the academy and from the anti-establishment hard rocks. At 8 p.m. at Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. $10. (202) 544-7077. (Ta-Nehisi Coates)