Praise & Awards


  • 1984, Lucretia Mott Award
  • 1985, Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women
  • 1985, Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators
  • 1985, American Book Award for Homegirls and Handgrenades
  • 1988, Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities
  • 1989, Peace and Freedom Award from Women International League for Peace and Freedom (W.I.L.P.F.)
  • 1992–1993, PEW Fellowship in the Arts
  • 1999, recipient of Langston Hughes Poetry Award
  • 2018, recipient of Wallace Stephens Award
  • 2019, Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award


“Sonia Sanchez’s poetry is a must for all readers. Period.”

- Essence

“Sanchez’s haiku is as simple and clear as breathing, but with everything that brings energy and vivacity to being alive.” 

- Rain Taxi Review of Books

“With an unblinking and critical poet’s eye, Sonia Sanchez has been setting her readers straight, telling the ‘terrible beauty,’ and reflecting images in ways that simultaneously solicit tears and laughter. For over thirty years this revolutionary poet has been undeterred from a path that began in the sixties. She has not given up the struggle to let her poetry be what she refers to as a ‘call to arms’ for her people.”

- Juanita Johnson-Bailey, Ms.

“Sonia Sanchez is a lion in literature’s forest. When she writes she roars, and when she sleeps other creatures walk gingerly.”

- Maya Angelou

“Sanchez’s powers of empathy shine with rare luminosity.”

- Paula Friedman, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Only a poet with an innocent heart can exorcise so much pain with so much beauty.”

- Isabel Allende

“Her songs of destruction and loss scrape the heart; her praise songs thunder and revitalize. We need these songs for our journey together into the next century.”

- Joy Harjo

“[Sanchez] looks deeply into that most dangerous of places-the heart.”

- Quarterly Black Review

“The poetry of Sonia Sanchez is full of power and yet always clean and uncluttered. It makes you wish you had thought those thoughts, felt those emotions and, above all, expressed them so effortlessly and so well.”

- Chinua Achebe

“In all her words, Sanchez grabs your heart.”

- Vibe

“This world is a better place because of Sonia Sanchez: more livable, more laughable, more manageable. I wish millions of people knew that some of the joy in their lives comes from the fact that Sonia Sanchez is writing poetry.”

- Maya Angelou