Nov 28, 2011

Launching Peace is a Haiku Song

by: Laura Edgar

If you aren’t familiar with the work of world-renowned poet Sonia Sanchez, you need to check out Mural Arts’ newest mural project. On the evening of November 13th, quiet music played as more than 150 people gathered for the launch of Peace is a Haiku Song Mural Project at Christ Church at 2nd and Market Streets in Old City. In collaboration with the First Person Festival, Mural Arts hosted an evening honoring Sonia Sanchez filled with dancing, music, and poetry reading.

First Person Arts Executive Director Vicki Solot kicked-off the event reminding the audience that “it’s important to give people the respect they deserve,” which is part of First Person Arts’ mission. She introduced a common theme for the evening, saying that “everyone, everywhere, should have art in their life.”

Members of FlyGround dance group swiftly passed through the aisles to a louder, rhythmic beat in their debut performance. Called “Mining Black Water,” the performance featured choreography that connected each dancer’s whole body from their head to the tips of their fingers. As described to audience members, the piece was meant to resemble the flow and cleansing properties of water and water as a conduit of peace.

When Ms. Sanchez took the stage, she captivated attendees, speaking softly at first so that the audience noticeably leaned-in to focus on her words. She told a few stories and performed an original work with Odene Pope.

Sanchez introduced the concept of using haiku to capture a moment and the feeling in that moment. She urged the audience to slow down and listen to the world around them in the name of peace. She said, “help us open this peace box here in Philadelphia.”

The evening ended with audience members sharing their original haiku; some were funny, some dark, some contained questions, some were simple, and some complex.

What would your haiku for peace sound like? Share your original haiku on for a chance to have your words be a part of the mural project! While you’re on the website, take time to read Ms. Sanchez’s work as well as poems submitted by others from around the globe.

Sponsor: City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services

Partner: First Person Arts

Last updated: Jan 27, 2016

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