When explaining why she writes poetry, Sonia Sanchez said “I wanted to tell how I became this woman with razor blades between her teeth.” Sanchez, who has authored 12 books of poetry to great acclaim, is best known for her involvement in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and ’70s. She used her poetry to speak up about everything. Like other artists of the Black Arts Movement, for her, fighting for her rights and making art were intertwined. “I talked about everybody,” she said of her first collection of poems, Home Coming (1969), in a 2013 interview with MSNBC, “The New York Times and my daddy.”
On February 22, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women is hosting a reading in celebration of Sanchez at the Brooklyn Museum. If you are at all familiar with the poet’s work, you’ll know this won’t be any ordinary reading. Sanchez does not read; she sings, stutters, whispers, and wails. Sometimes, she is joined by musicians, and her poetry sounds like the blues.
“Our vision is our voice,” reads the opening line of Sanchez’s poem “An Anthem.” For her, poetry is most powerful when read aloud. The Brooklyn Museum event will illustrate this by gathering a group of poets and spoken-word artists to deliver their work alongside Sanchez’s. The event will conclude with a conversation with the honored poet.
When: Thursday, February 22, 7–9pm
Where: Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Pkwy, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)
More info at the Brooklyn Museum.