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Sonia Sanchez Now Poet Laureate of Phillly

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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


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!

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