Sanchez during a news conference in Philadelphia.
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Poet-activist Sonia Sanchez subject of new documentaryWhen a team of documentary makers first suggested a movie about her life, Sonia Sanchez resisted the idea. But Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon kept asking and Sanchez, spirited as ever at 81, finally relented, if only because her children encouraged her to share what she had learned and how she survived. The 90-minute film includes interviews, archival footage and tributes from such artists as Questlove, Mos Def, Ayana Mathis and two who have since died, Amiri Baraka and Ruby Dee.A graduate of Hunter College, Sanchez also studied poetry at a workshop run by New Yorker poetry editor Louise Bogan and helped form a writers workshop in Greenwich Village.Sanchez sees the poet as a "creator of social values" and the performance as a renewal of ancient rituals: She sings, chants, whispers, clicks her tongue and shouts. Her breakthrough, she remembers, came on a winter's night at Brown University in the early '70s. After she read for an hour and a half and thought she was finished, a student requested "a/coltrane/poem," in which Sanchez mimicked Coltrane's saxophone with such lines as "''screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeCHHHHHHHHHHH". In 2006, during the Iraq War, Sanchez and some peers organized the "Granny Peace Brigade".
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