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Sonia Sanchez Now Poet Laureate of Phillly From "Great Things Happ'nin'/ January 2012" Compiled and edited by Louis Reyes Rivera Louisreyesrivera@aol.com Sonia Sanchez Now Poet Laureate ============================= As of Thursday, December 29, 2011, Mayor Michael Nutter and the City of Philadelphia have installed West Philadelphia resident Sonia Sanchez as their first Poet Laureate. In his announcement, Mayor Nutter called Ms. Sanchez "the longtime conscience of the city." Throughout her vocation as such, the 77-year-old poet has geared her poetry as a tool for social activism during the culminating periods of both the Civil Rights and Black Arts movements. As well, the Harlem born poet has held teaching positions at eight universities, including her long-time residency at Temple University. At the induction ceremony, Mayor Nutter said, "Poetry is an extraordinary and powerful art form. Ms. Sanchez exemplifies the role a poet can play in helping to define a city and helping its citizens discover beauty." In her position, she'll be called upon to mentor a youth poet laureate and appear at Spoken Word and other poetry events at City Hall and at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Ms. Sanchez was quoted as stating that she seeks to explore what it means to be human in the 21st century. To her, that means promoting peace in self and others. One project that she has recently initiated is to gather haikus from her comrades of the pen (i.e., Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Louis Reyes Rivera, among others) for purposes of having them posted on a public mural in South Philadelphia. The theme is Peace!