Sonia Sanchez Breathing, Reflection and Haiku at African Voices

On Friday evening April 13, 2012 I attended a Haiku workshop with Poet Sonia Sanchez  produced by the organization and magazine  African Voices. African Voices publishes the popular  African Voices Magazine, a soulful collection of art and literature.

I stepped into the workshop and was met by a sea of smiling and expectant faces.  Among the women smiling back at me was one of my former college professors, another a fellow poet, I had not seen in nearly thirty years. The workshop was filled with a diverse community of women. Women engulfed in conversation eagerly awaiting the start of the workshop. Women eager to hear Sonia Sanchez’s words.  Women collectively united in our admiration of Sonia Sanchez a phenomenal poet and Carolyn A. Butts. A woman providing innovative programming and publishing opportunity. We came from all boroughs and some further away.

The evening began with African Voices Founder and President Carolyn A. Butts welcoming everyone  and introducing Sonia Sanchez. Ms. Sanchez came forward, asking us to come closer. Once we were settled, she asked us to stand. Once standing she instructed us on how to breath properly. She then asked that we form groups of two and place our hands on each others heart. The purpose being to connect and hear the heart beats of another human being.  She wanted us acknowledge the flow of life.

We were given things to smell, food to taste and a photo of Black women ditch diggers during world war II. We were instructed to write our first impressions., and afterwards invited to share our words.

The actual teaching of Haiku didn’t last more than twenty minutes. There was a higher form of Haiku taking place. I termed it The Haiku of life.

Sonia Sanchez came to heal. She came to unite us. She came to tear down the walls we build around ourselves shutting each other out. She came to gently love us, and to put us intouch with each others humanity/huwomanity. This evening from my viwepoint was not about Haiku as a form but about the Haiku of living. The Haiku of breathing, smelling, touching and tasting. The Haiku of being at peace with oneself, each other, our environment and the world.

She became our mother, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend teaching her daughters and  sons. There were two men present. Make no mistake she came to share years of experience and wisdom. I heard her words. I felt her words. Knowledge was not meant to gather and keep to ourselves but to share with others. We are not to allow anyone nor anything to disturb our peace. We are to create a home and community where peace dwells. Before entering our homes we are to brush off the negativity, leaving it on the outside. It is not allowed to enter our homes with us.

We are to learn how to breathe properly. It is a reality we breathe in negativity throughout the day. It is in the pollutants in the air. So, we must make an effort to rid ourselves of these.

Participants were given an assigment and a notebook. We are to write a Haiku poem each morning. The evening ended with participants in a circle holding hands and each sharing words of thanks.

To learn more about African Voices, Website:


To learn more about The Currelley Literary Journal:

©Lorraine Currelley and The Currelley Literary Journal 2012. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


3 thoughts on “Sonia Sanchez Breathing, Reflection and Haiku at African Voices

  1. Thank you Robin and Liza for taking the time to read my review and leave a comment. Your time and words are appreciated. Ms. Sanchez needed to share life lessons with us. Life is short on earth it is not to be wasted. We must share and be authentic. God’s Blessings Always.

  2. Thank you Lorraine for sharing with us non-attendees the highlights of an uplifting and enlightening affair. I’ve been blessed to share the stage with Mz. Sanchez years ago at a Women’s Poetry Symposium in New Orleans. Sonia Sanchez is walking truth and wisdom, as you are my friend. You embody all things “Poetry” with God as your guide, and inspire others in doing so. Keep doing you to the glory of God my Sister!

  3. I attended this workshop with a clear mind. I had no expectations and I must say, I’m glad I entered with that spirit. It left all the space needed to be filled by Ms. Sonia Sanchez. I walked out, completely full. Never did I imagine to have had such a spiritual experience. I’ve been writing haiku for awhile but now I see it in such a different light. I am forever grateful to Ms. Sanchez and appreciative that Carolyn Butts put this wonderful opportunity together.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s