NATIONALLY RENOWNED POET SONIA SANCHEZ FEATURED GUEST AT POETRY EVENT
Portsmouth, NH—The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (BHTNH) is featuring nationally renowned Black poet, Sonia Sanchez, in the last of three poetry events, Black Matter Is Life: Poetry for Engagement and Overcoming. The free program, co-sponsored with 3s Artspace, will be held virtually on Jan. 20, 2022, 7:00 – 8:30 PM.
Sonia Sanchez is a poet, playwright, scholar, and activist whom JerriAnne Boggis, Executive Director, characterized as an “inimitable, legendary, incomparable, bold lyricist and trail-blazer.” Maya Angelou once called her, “ A lion in literature’s forest. When she writes, she roars, and when she sleeps other creatures walk gingerly.”
Sonia Sanchez has helped redefine American culture, politics, and education. As a leading figure in the 1960’s Black Arts movement and one of the first people to set up a Black Studies program at an American university, Sanchez’s life and work have established her as one of the greats in American poetry. She has blazed a trail for a generation of younger poets and has revolutionized poetry through her innovative melding of musical formations, such as the blues, and traditional poetic formats like haiku and tanka. She has also been an international lecturer on Black Culture and Literature. Currently, Sanchez is one of twenty African American women featured in “Freedom Sisters,” an interactive traveling exhibition created by the Cincinnati Museum Center and Smithsonian Institution.
Last year, Sanchez won the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize---a $250,000 lifetime achievement honor given for her ongoing achievements in inspiring change through the power of the word. She has garnered numerous awards including the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award, Robert Creely Award, Wallace Stephens Award, the Frost Medal, Langston Hughes Poetry Award, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and an Award from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She is the chosen recipient of the 2022 Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award, which recognizes honorees as “leaders and community builders committed to stewarding a diverse array of literary voices and to helping their voices reach readers.” About her work, she has said, “I write to keep in contact with ancestors and to spread truth to people.”
The author of more than a dozen books of poetry, in addition to critical essays, plays, and children’s books, Sanchez will read and discuss poems from her latest book, Collected Poems (2021), a representative collection of her life work spanning four decades of her literary career. In conversation with the program hosts, Reginald Wilburn, Dean for the School for Interdisciplinary Studies at Texas Christian University and Courtney Marshall, English Professor at Phillips Exeter Academy, she will establish a link between her poems and the poems selected for the evening’s theme: Emphatic Affirmations. Audience participation is encouraged and access to the poetry selections and a study guide is available at the BHTNH website below.
To obtain more information about this special event and to register, go to wwwblackheritagetrailnh.org/events or call 603-570-8469.