In collaboration with PhillyCam, Moonstone Art Center’s Who Do You Love? series celebrates poets old and new through conversations between Philly’s best writers, poets and arts organizers. Please join us live on October 6th for a discussion of the life and work of Ntozake Shang featuring panelists Pat McLean, Miriam Harris and guest host Debra Powell-Wright.
LAST MONTH, we celebrated the life of Philadelphia’s first poet laureate Sonia Sanchez. Born September 9th 1934, Sonia Sanchez was among the founding members of the Black Art Movement, continues to be a tireless activist for gender, racial and human rights causes and has mentored countless poets through her time as a Temple University professor. We invited three lovers of Mama Sanchez, Ursula Rucker, Yolanda Wisher, and Christopher KP Brown to pay tribute.
Afterwards, Yolanda Wisher had this to say.
1. Give us a brief memory of Sonia Sanchez. What crystalizes, in your mind, her personality and way of being in the world?
Sonia in her kitchen tenderly heating hot water for bancha tea, dropping an umeboshi plum in her mug. Cutting watermelon or stirring oatmeal like a haiku. Offering me a cup, slice, bowl.
2. What lesson do you take away specifically from the writing style and aesthetic of her poetry?
Black English, how we speak, is a real language. It lives. It fights. It can create worlds of power and beauty. And there's enough of that power and beauty for all of us.
3. Describe Sonia Sanchez's work in 3 words?
"violets like castanets" (her phrase from the poem "Malcolm")
Learn more about PhillyCam right here. XO, APIARY.