World-renowned poet and playwright, Sonia Sanchez, shared her poems, stories and words of solace, in light of last month’s terrorist attacks, with students at Temple University on Thursday, Oct. 18.
Sanchez, who is now a creative writing teacher at Howard University, has spoken all over the world including Africa, Cuba, Norway, the Republic of Panama and Canada. She was also an English professor for 24 years at Temple until 1999.
In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, she spoke on the importance of dignity and the up-keep of the human spirit. She spoke of poetry in times of tragedy as almost an anecdote.
“It is so important to maintain dignity, and it is so vital to strive for peace and practice treating people correctly on earth. It’s not by chance that, in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, people have turned to poetry. It enters the bloodstream saying ‘I will stay alive, I will be’,” said Sanchez.
Her poems, which emphasized repetition, incorporated rhythm, singing and sound, captivated the audience.
Sophomore Carniesha Fenwick said, “Being that this had been a rough time for me, this presentation was, in a sense, an aspirin for me. She cleared my thoughts with her redundancy. Just her words put me at peace.”
She read many of her poems, some of which were written for people such as Bill Cosby and the late Tupac Shakur. Besides having many poetry books published, she has also done a commercial with singer Eric Benet and is recording a CD with artists such as Mos Def and Rakim.
Her slight voice fell onto the ears of the silent Temple student body. She received a positive response from students as they hung on her every word, hoping to gain some relief from the stresses of school and all that has been going on in the past months.
Students like junior Lawrence Green tentatively took in all she had to say, remaining motionless in the presence of greatness.
“She was the epitome of grace, soul, rhythm, peace and love. I could have listened to her for hours, but unfortunately, her time was limited. With all that has been going, she truly lifted a weight off my shoulders,” said Green.
The Main Campus Program Board lecture committee was responsible for Sanchez’s appearance and Program Coordinator Joan Elasser spearheaded most of the project.
Darold Cuban, co-chair of the lectures committee said, “Ms. Sanchez used to be a part of Temple. She is known world wide for her accomplishments, and we felt that it was important for students to experience a part of Temple’s past.”