Books

U.S. poet Sonia Sanchez to receive Edwin MacDowell Medal

The American poet is this year’s winner of the Edward MacDowell Medal, a lifetime achievement honour started in 1960 and previously given to Robert Frost, Toni Morrison and Stephen Sondheim among others.
Sonia Sanchez is an American poet. (Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

The American poet, activist and educator Sonia Sanchez is this year's winner of the Edward MacDowell Medal, a lifetime achievement honour started in 1960 and previously given to Robert Frost, Toni Morrison and Stephen Sondheim among others.

"I had tears in my eyes as I learned about this award," Sanchez, 87, said in a statement released Sunday by MacDowell. "When I consider my dear friend, Sister Toni (Morrison), and so many others who have been given this award, I feel so welcomed to be part of that group. It is a great honour to be this year's awardee. MacDowell has such a great herstory and history of caring and concern for artists; it is a joy this place exists to keep the world on a path toward re-civilization, peace, and humanity."

LISTEN | Toni Morrison on Writers & Company:

The Nobel Prize-winning American author is being celebrated around the world following her death on Aug. 5th, 2019, at age 88.

MacDowell is a U.S.-based artist residency founded in 1907, with fellows over the past century including James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, Louise Erdrich and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Sanchez was a prominent figure in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and is known for such poetry collections as Homegirls and Handgrenades and Shake Loose My Skin. A representative collection of her work, titled Collected Poems, was released in 2021. 

Novelist Walter Mosley will present Sanchez her medal on July 10, 2022 on the MacDowell grounds in Peterborough, N.H., the first in-person ceremony since 2019, the year before the pandemic.

"Sonia Sanchez's illustrious career spans seven decades. Her commanding oeuvre continues to elevate language's ability to give voice to entire communities (their daily pleasures and pains) inside our shared and troubled history," American poet and playwright Claudia Rankine, chair of this year's MacDowell Medal selection panel, said in a statement.

Rankine is also a judge for the 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize along with Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort and Canadian poet Adam Dickinson

— With files from CBC Books

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now