John Timpane of the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that world-renowned poet Sonia Sanchez has been named Philadelphia's first poet laureate. Mayor Michael Nutter will name Sanchez, 77, the city's first poet laureate in an 11 a.m. ceremony Thursday at City Hall.
A poet, teacher, mentor and activist, Sanchez has authored at least 18 books of poetry, as well as plays and children's books.
She has long been one of the city's most visible and active writers, readers, teachers, and activists for peace and social equality. Starting in January, she will serve for two years, with a stipend of $2,500 per year.
Contacted at home in West Philadelphia, Sanchez said she had already fielded congratulations from fellow writers Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison.
"People are saying, 'This makes sense, because people have been calling you the unofficial poet laureate for years,' " Sanchez said. "And I say, 'Well, the people are always way ahead of the government.' "
In an official statement, Nutter said he was "extremely excited" by the selection: "Poetry is an extraordinary and powerful art form, and our great city is filled with an astonishing array of poets who help us to better understand our lives. Ms. Sanchez exemplifies the role a poet can play in helping to define a city and helping its citizens discover beauty."
We're glad that the city of Philadelphia has honored Sanchez in such a public way. Her work is stellar, and her passion for life and poetry is simply amazing. The Root congratulates Sonia Sanchez.
Read more at Philly.com.