Sonia Sanchez was born Wilsonia Benita Driver in Birmingham, Alabama in 1934. She lived with her grandmother and then her father in Harlem after her mother passed away. The passing of her grandmother at the age of six caused her to develop a stutter. She became introverted, but this gave her lots of opportunity to read. She became well acquainted with language and sound during this time. She used her time in college to develop her poetic voice. In 1955 she earned a BA in Political Science from Hunter College before moving on to post-graduate work at New York University. There she studied poetry and formed a poetry workshop which was attended by other well-known poets. Sonia Sanchez has taught at 8 universities and spoken at over 500. She became recognized as an influential voice of the Black Arts movement in the late 60’s as her book Home Coming came out. This is one of many books, children’s books, and plays she has written since that time. She was also Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate from 2012-14.
ENGL4302 Spoken Word Poetry & Pedagogy at LSU