Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Poem of the Week: Sonia Sanchez

With today's Poem of the Week we finish our run of 15 festival poets with Sonia Sanchez's "14 haiku" - a poem for Emmitt Till. Now, it's also a poem for Trayvon Martin and for all of the Black boys and men who have been taken from us.

Split This Rock encourages you to call on the Department of Justice to take over Trayvon's case and launch an independent investigation into the Sanford police department's unwillingness to protect Trayvon's civil rights.

Sonia Sanchez Split This Rock 2008 Opening
Sonia Sanchez at Split This Rock 2008 @Jill Brazel

14 haiku

(for Emmett Louis Till)


Your limbs buried

in northern muscle carry

their own heartbeat



alert with

conjugated pain


young Chicago

stutterer whistling

more than flesh


your pores

wild stars embracing

southern eyes


footprints blooming

in the night remember

your blood


in this southern

classroom summer settles

into winter


i hear your

pulse swallowing

neglected light


your limbs

fly off the ground

little birds...


we taste the

blood ritual of

southern hands


blue midnite

breaths sailing on

smiling tongues


say no words

time is collapsing

in the woods


a mother's eyes

remembering a cradle

pray out loud


walking in Mississippi

i hold the stars

between my teeth


your death

a blues, i could not

drink away.

-Sonia Sanchez

Used by permission.

From Morning Haiku (Beacon Press, 2010)

Sonia Sanchez is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, including, among others, Morning Haiku (Beacon Press, 2010) and Does your house have lions? (1995), which was nominated for both the NAACP Image and National Book Critics Circle Award. She was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University, where she began teaching in 1977, and held the Laura Carnell Chair in English there until her retirement in 1999. She is the first Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.

Sanchez will be reading at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 22-25, 2012. The festival is SOLD OUT. Join us for a poetry action at the Supreme Court Friday March 23. Details here.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.

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