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AmNews in the Classroom: The powerful pen of Sonia Sanchez

JASMIN K. WILLIAMS Special to the AmNews | 4/23/2012, 3:44 p.m.

"It is always the poems and lines always running through your bloodstream. And all you have to do sometimes is all of a sudden open the pores for them to pour out."

In "Morning Haiku," Sanchez pays homage to the images of children painted on murals in her Philadelphia hometown. Here's are four stanzas from "10 haiku (for Philadelphia Murals)":

  1. Philadelphia roots lighting these walls with fireflies
  2. Flowers stretched in prayer on a cornerstone wall
  3. Brown-skinned children dancing with butterflies
  4. These children's faces humiliate the stars

Activities: Sonia Sanchez offers this week's activities

  • "If you want to write poetry, you have to read poetry. Read it out loud. Begin to train the ear on how that poem sounds, the rhythm of that poem. How you practice reading it will also influence how you write your own poetry. Read all the poetry you can and keep a little notebook with you so that when you see something, you can write it down.
  • "Always just write. Later on, the easiest thing to do is cross out excess words. You will hear that by reading what you've done, just letting it all pour out on paper. Reading it out loud, your ear will tell you that you don't need all those extra words. Listen to the musicality of it, the beauty of it, the on-time-ness of it, the language of it. Listening will help you learn how to say something, and learn how to say it well."
  • Visit your school or local library and read the acclaimed work of Sanchez, including "Morning Haiku," and visit Sanchez online at www.soniasanchez.net.
  • Try writing your own haiku each week. Read your haiku aloud to your classmates.

This Week in Black History

  • April 16, 1862: Slavery is abolished in the District of Columbia.
  • April 19, 1960: Maj. Gen. Frederic E. Davidson commands the Eighth Infantry Division in Germany, becoming the first Black to lead an army division.
  • April 20, 1971: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that bussing is an acceptable means of integrating public schools.