What has given me life has been my poetry. . . .*
~ Sonia Sanchez
Sonia Sanchez is a poet, a playwright, an activist, and a scholar and lecturer. Author of more than 16 books, including Morning Haiku (Beacon Press, 2010) and Homegirls and Handgrenades (White Pine Press, 2007; 2nd Ed., 2015), Sanchez also has written children's books, made numerous audio recordings, and edited several anthologies. Formerly Laura Carnell Professor of English and Women's Studies at Temple University, Sanchez has received such prestigious awards as the Robert Creeley Award (2009), the Poetry Society of America's Robert Frost Medal (2001; read "A Poem for Jesse"), and the Langston Hughes Award (1999).
Last week, on March 8, a documentary, BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez (California Newsreel), aired nationally on PBS World Channel America ReFramed. The 90-minute documentary by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon features readings, jazz-accompanied performances of Sanchez's work, and appearances by the late Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, Ruby Dee, Yasiin Bey, and Ursula Rucker, among others. It's an excellent examination of Sanchez's literary contributions, her social activism (in 2006, she helped organize the "Granny Peace Brigade"), and her leadership, especially in the Black Arts Movement. Here's the trailer, which shows Sanchez performing one of her works:
A slightly longer preview is available at Attie & Goldwater Productions Website.
The film already has received awards at BlackStar Film Festival, African Diaspora International Film Festival, and Pan African Film Festival. It will be screened March 17 at Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, New York; April 1 at Annapolis Film Festival, Annapolis, Maryland, April 2 at Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; and April 4 at Like Jazz Film Festival, Newark Women in Media, East Orange, New Jersey. (See the calendar for additional screenings.)
* Quoted in Cynthia Dagnal-Myron's article "Poet, Activist, Icon Sonia Sanchez: Still 'BadDDD' as Ever", HuffPost Entertainment, March 1, 2016.
Sonia Sanchez Profiles at Academy of American Poets, AfroPoets, The Detroit News, Howard University, National Visionary Leadership Project, Poetry Foundation, Robert Creeley Foundation
Read Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn's interview with filmmaker Sabrina Schmidt Gordon at Los Angeles Review of Books, February 15, 2016.
baddDDD Sonia Sanchez on FaceBook
Poetry Society of America Robert Frost Medalists