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Found in Translation: Reading Close: Sonia Sanchez with Yolanda Wisher

Each session of Reading Close will do a deep-dive into one of Sanchez’ monumental poems, exploring its making, context, themes, symbolism, music, and impact. Through guest lectures, four local writers will offer their own close readings of the selected poems as well as personal connections to Sanchez’ life and work.

Reading Close: Sonia Sanchez is presented as part of Found in Translation, a series of free online art history and critical theory workshops funded by PA Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Registration is free and includes admission to all four Zoom sessions on Thursday, November 17, December 1, 7*, and 15. Register here.

*Please note that the session originally scheduled for December 8 will now be held on December 7.

“The poet is a creator of social values.”
–Sonia Sanchez, Ruminations/Reflections, 1984

Sonia Sanchez is a local and national treasure. Her teaching, mentorship, lifestyle, activism, and devotion to her craft as a writer has impacted the lives of many people in Philadelphia, where she has lived for over forty years. But her influence is felt far beyond the city. Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1932, Sonia Sanchez became an architect of the Black Arts Movement and groundbreaking professor of Black and women’s studies. She is recognized internationally as a haiku poet and maintains a daily practice of writing haiku as a form of meditation. She is the author of over sixteen books.

Poet, singer, educator, and curator Yolanda Wisher is author of Monk Eats an Afro. Wisher was named inaugural poet laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in 1999 and third poet laureate of Philadelphia for 2016 and 2017. A Pew and Cave Canem Fellow, Wisher received the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award in 2019 for her commitment to art for social change. Wisher is Curator of Spoken Word and Co-Director of Curatorial Programs at Philadelphia Contemporary and performs poetry and song with her band Yolanda Wisher & The Afroeaters.