Sonia Sanchez, author of over 16 books, including "Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems," will give the Second Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Memorial Literary Reading on Thursday, February 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the Villard Room of Main Building, Vassar College.
Sanchez's reading, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Program in Africana Studies, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, and the Office of the President. This is the second, in a series of lectures by the Program in Africana Studies.
A poet, activist, and teacher, Sanchez's work addresses the history of African-Americans from slave times to modern periods of oppression. She is a master of haiku, tanka, and villanelle, reconstructing them to create her distinctive poetic style that mixes street speech with sophisticated formality. Having worked with Malcom X in the New York activist group CORE, Sanchez refers to him and Martin Luther King Jr. as her influencers.
Sanchez is a recent recipient (2001) of the Robert Frost medal in poetry. She was awarded the Langston Hughes Poetry Award in 1999 and in 1998 received nominations for both the National Book Critics Circle and the NAACP Image Awards.
Among numerous other honors, she was granted a Pew Fellowship in the Arts for 1992-1993.
"Homegirls & Handgrenades" earned Sanchez the 1985 American Book Award. Additionally, she is the author of "Homecoming;" "Does Your House Have Lions?;" and "Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums. As a contributing editor to both Black Scholar and to the Journal of African Studies, she has edited two anthologies: "We Be Word Sorcerers: 25 Stories by Black Americans" and "360 Degrees of Blackness Coming at You."
Sanchez was born in Birmingham, Alabama, living later in Harlem, N.Y. and Philadelphia, P.A. Educated at Hunter College and New York University she currently holds the Laura Carnell Chair in English at Temple University, where she is a tenured professor of English and Women's Studies. She has given literary presentations in Cuba, England, the West Indies, and China.
For additional information, please call the office of the Africana Studies Program at (845) 437-7490. Individuals with disabilities should contact Cathy Jennings at (845) 437-5370, as far in advance as possible to request appropriate and reasonable accommodations.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.