Leaning Into Power with Sonia Sanchez

November 8, 2021

Last month legendary poet Sonia Sanchez won the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize —a $250,000 lifetime achievement honor— and NPR is taking a look back on her lasting influence in the world of poetry and beyond. “Part of Sanchez’s power comes from advocating for her people—and from blazing a trail for poets who came after her. Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, who now has five poetry collections and a novel, says she learned how to lean into her power through Sanchez. ‘I remember how Miss Sonia would close her eyes sometimes when she would read,’ Jeffers says, thinking of one of her earliest readings in front of a big crowd. ‘And so I closed my eyes and I felt something enter me. And when I opened my eyes, I wasn’t scared anymore.'”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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