Award-winning Poets Marilyn Nelson & Sonia Sanchez in conversation presented in partnership with the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh as part of the POETRY LEGACIES series.
Marilyn Nelson is an accomplished poet and translator who has written numerous books for children and young adults. Her book The Homeplace (1990), which won the Annisfield-Wolf Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award, depicts her family’s history dating back to the sale of Nelson’s great-great-grandmother into slavery: “The sheer range of [Nelson’s] voice is one of the book’s greatest strengths, varying not only from poem to poem, but within individual poems as well,” noted Christian Wiman.
She is a three-time finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Robert Frost medal, and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Foundation, among other honors. In 2013, Nelson was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2017, she was recognized with both the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children and the prestigious NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. In 2019 she was awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation.
Sonia Sanchez is a renowned scholar, poet, playwright and activist who has been an influential force in African American literary and political culture for over three decades. One of the foremost leaders of the Black Arts Movement, Sanchez is the author of sixteen books including Homecoming, We a BaddDDD People, I’ve Been a Woman: New and Selected Poems, and Shake Loose My Skin.
Her many honors and awards include the PEN Writing Award, the American Book Award for Poetry, the National Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the National Education Association Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Arts Foundation.
“Her songs of destruction and loss scrape the heart; her praise songs thunder and revitalize. We need these songs for our journey together into the next century.”