Writers in the Schools (WITS) congratulates poet Sonia Sanchez, recently named the new poet laureate of Philadelphia. Mayor Michael Nutter awarded the 77-year-old poet this honor for her work as a poet, teacher, and activist. She currently lives in West Philadelphia and acts as the poet in residence at Temple University where she is a tenured professor.

Teachers at Writers in the Schools (WITS) have used for decades the work of Sonia Sanchez to inspire and motivate the children we meet. Her down-to-earth honesty challenges and engages students from every socio-economic level; her poems provide hope and promise for students in some of the most distressed, inner-city schools in Houston.

In an interview called “Wear the New Day Well” for a video documentary, Sanchez describes how poetry saved her from a difficult childhood. Her mother died when Sanchez was one, and she was raised by her grandmother. Her grandmother taught her to read at age 4, and Sanchez started writing poems at age 6.

Writers in the Schools loves that Sanchez is working on a public mural that will feature haikus from fellow writers, such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and Maya Angelou. Let’s fill our city walls with poetry!

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