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: www.africanvoices.com
To learn more about The Currelley Literary Journal: https://lcurrelley.wordpress.com
©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.