Meet Poet Laureate Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson

2020-2022

Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson

Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson

At the age of 6, Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson found a typewriter while visiting her aunt in Corpus Christi. Wanting to explore the possibilities, she decided to write her mother a love poem. That moment sparked an excitement and anticipation for sharing her words that never waned. While in 7th grade, her English teacher compared her work to Maya Angelou, and encouraged her to check out books from the library, Andrea discovered words were her gift, her calling. Soon after, at the age of thirteen, the untimely loss of a close friend inspired her to compose a poem for the memorial service. The appreciation of her friend’s family connected the feeling she’d put into words to the experiences of loss and pain in life. Through the recognition from her educators and peers, and discovery of other literary giants such as Robert Frost and Langston Hughes, she felt a life’s calling to etch her own mark in the vast world of literature.

Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson’s effort to create a safe space for youth in the artistic fold is nothing less than a lifesaving endeavor. She knows firsthand the struggle to find the perfect words to capture thoughts and emotions. Her work at the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center for the last 16 years has shown her the need for guidance through the complexity of the human experience. For her, poetry is about self-discovery and increasing personal understanding of the world.

In a January 2018 feature article in The San Antonio Current, journalist Chris Conde said, “watching Sanderson in her element… [the] word “hero” came to mind. And not “hero” for the sake of just skill, but for her work in her community: Sanderson teaches poetry workshops, mentors, builds up and encourages artists to pursue their art, and gives them platforms to showcase their talent.” This devotion, not only to her craft, but to nurturing artistic growth in others has laid a broad and sustainable foundation in San Antonio which future generations can and do use to bring the city to the world stage.

Andrea released her first full length album in November of 2019, and was awarded the 2019 Artist Foundation of San Antonio People’s Choice Award among other previous awards with Project Forward, Dream Voice, and National Poetry Awards. Her written work has been published in literary magazines and anthologies such as The Texas Observer, The Raven Review Literary Magazine, and Pariahs (Anthology) from Stephen F. Austin University Press. Her spoken word and performances have been exhibited and performed in numerous festivals and independently curated shows throughout San Antonio. She serves as the co-founder and board member of Write Art Out, and the founder and host of Jazz & Poetry with Purpose.

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Monday, July 13, 2020