Friday, June 06, 2008

Sonia Sanchez Haiku

June 2 036

we are sudden stars
you and i exploding in
our blue black skins

.............-Sonia Sanchez

Sonia Sanchez was born in 1934 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her mother died a year later and she lived with her sister in her paternal grandmother's home until she moved to Harlem to live with her father and his third wife. She has taught writing at several universities in America and is now a professor of English at Temple University in Philadelphia (since 1977). She has performed her poems, given poetry workshops and lectured around the world in Australia, England, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Africa. She was married to poet-activist Etheridge Knight and had three children with him.

Sanchez is known for her use of authentic language of the common people, her support of Black power, and her emphasis on encouraging Blacks to know themselves. She's written more than a dozen books of poetry, two of them for children specifically - It's a New Day and A Sound Investment. says:
" Her poems manifest the spiritual link between art and politics. [...] Her work is intentionally non-intellectual, unacademic, and anti-middle-class."

She is also know for using punctuation marks within lines and phrases, mixing lower-case letters, slashes, dashes, hyphenated lines, unconventional spelling, and abbreviations in order to shake up readers and startle new understandings. She's written free verse, ballads, letters, and haiku among other forms. She is one of my favorite poets to hear live.

(The haiku quoted above is read aloud about halfway through this video.)

Friday Poetry is at Sarah Reinhard's blog. Next week it's me right here at a wrung sponge.


Anonymous said...

"Sudden stars." I love it. What an energy she packs into 3 short lines! Great pairing with the photo, too.

Sara said...

Between your photo and the haiku, I find I have nothing that could add to that exploding beauty. So I'll just stand back and admire the sudden stars.