Black Studies Department hosting lecture on the poetry of Sonia Sanchez

AlliaSUNY New Paltz will welcome Dr. Allia Abdullah-Matta, professor of English at CUNY LaGuardia Community College, to campus to deliver a talk titled “Black Blood & Breath: The Politics & Poetics of Sonia Sanchez.”

Abdullah-Matta approaches the complexities of Sanchez’s work through the dual lens of “blood” – representing the historical, political and cultural roots of her poetry – and “breath” – the sustenance provided by aesthetic creativity – and posits Sanchez as a poet-activist, creating text that celebrates the Black woman as subject and the experiences of the Black community.

Abdullah-Matta’s talk will take place on April 20 at 12:30 p.m. in the Old Main 1907 Room, and is sponsored by the Department of Black Studies.

It is made possible thanks in part to the efforts of Anthony Winn, who was appointed as Special Assistant to the Department earlier this semester. Winn is helping to support the Department’s educational mission while nationwide searches to find full-time replacements for Department faculty are ongoing.

Among Winn’s responsibilities has been to cultivate Black Studies programming and to provide students with opportunities to enrich their learning in workshops, panels and lectures featuring guest scholars. Abdullah-Matta’s talk is among the first of a number of events sponsored by the Black Studies Department scheduled for the upcoming calendar year.

“It is vital during this rebuilding period that the Department of Black Studies continue to offer vibrant programming that enables students to engage with their learning outside the classroom,” Winn said. “Great offerings like Dr. Abdullah-Matta’s lecture underscore the value of Black Studies to our students and to the broader New Paltz community.”

Winn also cited a “rich array” of events, organized by departments and groups across campus this semester, which have directly complemented the Black Studies Department’s efforts to supplement their curriculum with voices and perspectives relevant to their students’ scholarly interests.

Examples include the series celebrating the Sojourner Truth Library reopening, an April 19 lecture to be given by historian and New Paltz alumna Nakia Parker on the migration patterns of enslaved and emancipated people of African and Black Indian descent during the mid-19th Century, and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ “Without Limits” series, which will feature a lecture from Rutgers University professor Brittney Cooper, titled “Dis- Respectability: Towards A Ratchet Black Feminism,” on April 28.

Details about upcoming events and opportunities sponsored by the Department of Black studies will be forthcoming. More information about the Department of Black Studies is available online.