Sojourner's latest book Free At Last: A Juneteenth Poem has received National Acclaim! The School Library Journal has recognized Free At Last on their 2023 Black History Month Reading List along with Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, Newbury Award winner Renée Watson and Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens.
Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
Poet | Playwright | Peacemaker
Sojourner Kincaid Rolle is poet, playwright, an environmental educator and a peace activist. She was selected as Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, CA and served a two-year term (2015-2017). Her books include Black Street (2009), Common Ancestry (1999), and The Mellow Yellow Global Umbrella: La Sombrilla Global, Amarillo y Apacible (2015). Her most recent book Free At Last: A Juneteenth Poem was published in 2022. Free At Last: A Juneteenth Poem (2022) was published just in time for the first national celebration of the Juneteenth holiday. Her poems have appeared in the publications California Quarterly, Coffee Press, Squaw Review and others, and in the following anthologies: The Geography of Home (Heyday Books, 1999), Rivertalk 2000, Poetry Zone I, II & III, The Poetry of Peace (Capra Press), A Crow Black as the Sun (Green Poet Press, 2011) and "Corners of the Mouth: Celebrating 30 Years of the SLO Poetry Festival (2014 ) Rare Feathers(Gunpowder Press 2016, and What Breathes Us Gunpowder Press 2016 . She has engaged young poets through her "Song of Place Poetry Project" and her work with City At Peace, Speak for the Creeks, the Annual Young Writers Poetry Contest and the MLK Poetry and Essay Contest. She hosted a monthly poetry event, The Poetry Zone, for several years and has organized an annual tribute to poetry icon Langston Hughes since 2002. Rolle is a two-time recipient of the California Arts Council’ Artist-in-Residence program and for eight years led poetry workshops in schools throughout the South County as a part of the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Elli program Sojourner Kincaid Rolle holds B.S. (UNC-Charlotte, 1978) in Criminal Justice with emphasis in Juvenile Delinquency and a J.D. (UC-Berkeley, 1981). She has taught creative writing through UCLA Extension in the California Arts In Corrections program(1992-1999) and African American Literature at UCSB(2007, 2009). She has been leading poetry workshops for young people in the schools and throughout the community since 1992. Rolle is the author of seven books of poetry and six plays. Her arts reviews and commentaries appear in local, regional, and national publications.
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Dear Friends, Great news! Free At Last has made the New York Public Library's list for best kids books in 2022.This is a fantastic honor. The book was among 250 books chosen from 3000 titles. It was listed in poetry category. Fabulous honor Free At Last was also the Editor’s Choice in the Youth category for the Booklist's December 2022 edition. Other news about Free At Last includes its listing in the UCSB Library catalog,/BlackStudies Library, gifted to many libraries around the country by patrons among them Phoenix Public Library, the Carpinteria Libraries and given to patrons at the Santa Barbara Public Library. It can also be experienced in various formats across the internet. Countless reviews have spread the news across the country through every school and library. Free At Last is a huge success. Too many to name here but I have listed a few below, just google for many more: Free At Last; My Juneteenth Poem I can’t believe this poem was written nearly 20 years ago…has reached such acclaim and its journey continues Thank you to all my friends. More news to come!
Donna Craddock Talks with
Sojourner Kincaid Rolle and Alex Bostic:
Genoa Barrow Interviews
Sojourner Kincaid Rolle:
Leslie Dinaberg Interview with Sojourner:
Joanne Calitri & Sojourner Discuss Free At Last:
Sojourner's Convo with Diverse Books:
"This picture book celebrates Rolle’s 2004 poem “Free at Last: A Juneteenth Poem.” The first line takes readers back to June 19, 1865: “The news arrived in Galveston: / The war is over!” As Rolle describes how formerly enslaved people responded to emancipation, her effortless lines flow with a soft, steady cadence... Rolle acknowledges that there is no official ending date for slavery, and that many individuals remained enslaved long after the Emancipation Proclamation. She also explains how Juneteenth, now a federal holiday, became the symbolic representation of freedom and how her poem is linked to the annual celebration. These lyrical verses are perfect for reading out loud, and the full-page illustrations will be easy to share. This lovely offering serves as powerful affirmation: “Wherever they went alone or abreast / at the end of their journey, they cried, / ‘I’ve done my best.’"
-The Book List