Morning Haiku

Morning Haiku

by Sonia Sanchez
Morning Haiku

Morning Haiku

by Sonia Sanchez


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Poems of commemoration and loss for readers of all ages, from a leading writer of the Black Arts Movement and the American Poetry Society's 2018 Wallace Stevens Award–winner.
Sonia Sanchez's collection of haiku celebrates the gifts of life and mourns the deaths of revered African American figures in the worlds of music, literature, art, and activism. In her verses, we hear the sounds of Max Roach "exploding in the universe," the "blue hallelujahs" of the Philadelphia Murals, and the voice of Odetta "thundering out of the earth." Sanchez sings the praises of contemporaries whose poetic alchemy turns "words into gems": Maya Angelou, Richard Long, and Toni Morrison. And she pays homage to peace workers and civil rights activists from Rosa Parks and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm to Brother Damu, founder of the National Black Environmental Justice Network. Often arranged in strings of twelve or more, the haiku flow one into the other in a steady song of commemoration. Sometimes deceptively simple, her lyrics hold a very powerful load of emotion and meaning.

There are intimate verses here for family and friends, verses of profound loss and silence, of courage and resilience. Sanchez is innovative, composing haiku in new forms, including a section of moving two-line poems that reflect on the long wake of 9/11. In a brief and personal opening essay, the poet explains her deep appreciation for haiku as an art form. With its touching portraits and by turns uplifting and heartbreaking lyrics, Morning Haiku contains some of Sanchez's freshest, most poignant work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807001318
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 01/25/2011
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Sonia Sanchez is poet, activist, scholar, and formerly the Laura Carnell Professor of English and Women's Studies at Temple University, and is currently a poet-in-residence there. Her numerous honors include the American Poetry Society's 2018 Wallace Stevens Award. she is the author of sixteen books, including Like the Singing Coming off the Drums, Does Your House Have Lions?Wounded in the House of a FriendShake Loose My Skin, and Morning Haiku.

Read an Excerpt

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

foot prints 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.

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