Sojourner Kincaid Rolle - The AfriGeneas PoetThe AfriGeneas Poet

Sojourner Kincaid Rolle doesn't like to talk about herself. Given an opportunity, she would much rather talk about the importance of poetry in our lives, about what it means to have a saying to carry with you, to have a line from a poem, a verse from the Bible ("that's poetry, too"), something that resonates and helps you make it through some troubling moment or captures the essence of some historical event. She would much rather talk  about the shared literary tradition that is handed down to every kid that hears the Twenty-Third Psalm or Shine on the Titanic.

When pressed, though, she says of herself: 

I consider myself "a Black poet". I like the phrase. I love the tradition of Black Poetry. I was inspired first by my grandmother, Carruth Drummond Kincaid, who was a great community leader and public speaker. She always included poetry whenever she spoke. I often say my goal is to write a poem that my grandmother might choose to include in one of her speeches. And then there was the tradition of poem-saying in my church and in every public event in the "colored" community. The two ladies in our town who always "brought the poem" never wrote them but would do a recitation of some well-known poet. I was exposed to poetry all during my growing up but no one - no relative, no teacher, no friend - ever told me I could write a poem. And it never occurred to me to write one. I think I never had the idea until I heard Nikki Giovanni on an album. The urge was there and eventually the poems began to come out. I just started writing poems. Twenty years later I was calling myself a poet. Now I call myself a poet and a poetry teacher, a poetry advocate, a poetry promoter. My life is about poetry endeavor.

Sojourner has been the AfriGeneas Poet since 1998. Her first poem for us was In This Time, which appeared in an issue of the AfriGeneas News. Her work has appeared in various poetry journals and her articles have appeared in a smattering of newspapers and magazines.  She has self-published six chapbooks of poetry including Our Strength Will Grow and Between Us. The poem, The Artist Questions the Artist, was published in Let The Butterflies Continue. In 1999, a chapbook, Common Ancestry, was published by Mille Grazie Press. Some of her poems were also published in the anthology, The Geography of Home, The Poetry of Place

Her work has been choreographed for dance presentation and has been performed as theater.  In 2002, she co-wrote a major production, Ayo's Journey, a multi-dimensional theater performance about the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Her other work includes: 

  • Sojourner Truth performances

  • Outrageous Women Television Show

  • Poet's Night producer

  • California Poet in the Schools

  • California Arts Council Poet in Residence

  • California Arts In Corrections teacher

  • Creative Writing workshop leader

 

. . . . .

 

POEMS 

In This Time

Heal

And Now We'll Have A Poem

keeping watch

The Matriarch

Minds Linked in Brotherhood

Mother Tongue

Murmurings of an Open Heart

The Pendulum

Silent Values

Spirit Passing

To Thine Own Flame Be True

When I Die

In Silence, In Peace

The Task of Our Time

 

16 Jun 2003 | 13 Sep 2005
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AfriGeneas ~ African Ancestored Genealogy