Monday, September 30, 2013

October Sunday Kind of Love: Reginald Harris & Susan Scheid

Sunday Kind of Love

Reginald Harris &
Susan Scheid

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Busboys & Poets
2021 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009

Hosted by
Sarah Browning & Katy Richey
$5 online or at the door

As always, open mic follows!
Co-Sponsored by Busboys and Poets
& Split This Rock

Reginald Harris is the Poetry In The Branches Coordinator and Information Technology Director for Poets House in New York City. He won the 2012 Cave Canem/Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize for Autogeography. A Pushcart Prize Nominee, recipient of Individual Artist Awards for both poetry and fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council, and Finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and the ForeWord Book of the Year for 10 Tongues: Poems (2002), his work has appeared in numerous journals, anthologies, and other publications. An Associate Editor for Lambda Literary Foundation's Lambda Literary Review, he lives in Brooklyn, where he pretends to work on another manuscript. 

Susan Scheid is the author of After Enchantment, her first book of poetry. Her poetry has appeared most recently in Tidal Basin Review, Requiem, Rose Red Review, The Unrorean, Bark! and the chapbook, Poetic Art. Susan currently serves on the Board of Directors for Split This Rock. As Artist-in Residence at the Noyes School of Rhythm in Connecticut, Susan studies dance and teaches daily writing workshops for one week each summer. She lives in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC, where she has been a community organizer for thirty years.  Susan helped open a community-owned grocery (Brookland Co-op Community Market) and also served on its board of directors. Susan has a B.A. in Anthropology from Catholic University. 

Susan Scheid photo by Kelsey Weaver.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Poem of the Week: Eduardo C. Corral



            boats used by African emigrants
            to reach Spanish islands 

A girl asleep beneath a fishing net

Sandals the color of tangerines

Off the coast of Morocco

A moonlit downpour, God's skeleton

Bark, dory, punt, skiff

"Each with a soul full of scents"

Day after day spent shaping

A ball of wax into a canary

Little lamp, little lamp

The word "contraband" arrived

In English in the 16th century via Spanish

Throw your shadow overboard

Proverbs, blessings scratched into wood

The tar of my country better than the honey of others 

-Eduardo C. Corral

From Slow Lightning (Yale University Press, 2012)
Used by permission.

Eduardo C. Corral is a CantoMundo fellow. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2012, Ploughshares, Poetry, and Quarterly West. His work has been honored with a "Discovery"/The Nation Award, the J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize from Poetry, and writing residencies to the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. He has served as the Olive B. O'Connor Fellow in Creative Writing at Colgate University and as the Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University. Slow Lightning, his first book of poems, won the 2011 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. The recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, he currently lives in New York City.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Poem of the Week: Shadab Zeest Hashmi


Ghazal for the Ninth Month

Your august birth, my taking oath as an American, were only weeks apart.
The most I can remember is your rocking to a dull ache before we were apart.

Our hill was plush, the whole place soaked up the scent of raisin pulao. On
the last day of July the umbilical cord was cut, yet still we were barely apart.

I had sworn to bear arms for this country. A cat prowled between the young
apple tree and dry lobelia; camouflaged, I couldn’t tell her parts apart.

I acted mother first when I frantically covered you, half-dreaming you were
the tender bird of prey and a feline form was the country of which I was a part.

Bear arms? Kill like a predator? In other dreams I bore you through the cold months,
through snow in Julian, rain in Sedona. Not for a single minute were we apart.

-Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Used by permission

From Kohl & Chalk (Poetic Matrix Press, 2013)

Shadab Zeest Hashmi is a Pushcart nominee and winner of the San Diego Book Award for poetry for Baker of Tarfia—a book based on the history of interfaith tolerance in Al Andalus (Muslim Spain). Her work has been included in the Seeds of Peace concert with the award-winning Al Andalus Ensemble, in the film Cruzando Lineas: Crossing Lines, and has been translated into Urdu by Pakistan Academy of Arts and Letters. She has presented her series of poems and photographs titled "Across the Windowsill" at San Diego Museum of Art. She has served as an editor for the annual Magee Park Anthology and the online journal MahMag World Literature and has taught as a visiting professor in the MFA program at San Diego State University. She has published her poetry and prose in numerous journals worldwide and represents Pakistan on UniVerse: A United Nations of Poetry.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spend a "Night Out" with Split This Rock @ The Laramie Project!

What: a performance of The Laramie Project, in support of Split This Rock!
When: Friday October 18, 2013 - 7:30-10pm
Where: Ford's Theatre - 511 10th St. NW Washington, DC 20004

Tickets: $50/person. Buy yours here!  (All proceeds benefit Split This Rock. Must buy tickets online to receive discount).
Post-Show Drinks: Bistro D'Orc - 518 10th St. NW  Washington, DC 20004
About The Laramie Project
By Moisés Kaufman and  
Members of the Tectonic Theatre Project  
Directed by Matthew Gardiner

The Laramie Project presents a deeply complex portrait of a community's response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man living in Laramie, Wyoming. In a series of poignant reflections, the residents of Laramie react to the hate crime and surrounding media storm with anger, bewilderment and sorrow. The play portrays the seismic and deeply personal impact Matthew's death had on this small town while also demonstrating the power of the human spirit to triumph over bigotry and violence. Fifteen years later, Matthew Shepard's story still reverberates, urging us on with its clarion call to confront the destructive power of bullying and hate, in all forms. The Laramie Project is the third offering in the multi-year Lincoln Legacy Project-an effort to generate dialogue around issues of tolerance, equality and acceptance. Experience the story that TIME magazine calls "a pioneering and powerful stage event."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Inaugural Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism

We are very excited to announce the first ever Split This Rock Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism 

The award, made possible through the generosity of the CrossCurrents Foundation, recognizes and honors a poet who is doing innovative and transformative work at the intersection of poetry and social change. We anticipate that the prize, like Split This Rock Poetry Festival, will become an essential, enduring part of our mission to promote the growing field of art and social activism on a national level.

This inaugural winner will be chosen by a panel of prominent judges: E. Ethelbert MillerMartha Collins, and Carlos Andres Gomez.

You are invited to help us celebrate the winner of the Freedom Plow Award and his/her achievements at a gala awards ceremony and reading at the Goethe-Institut of Washington, DC on the evening of 
November 1st, 6-9pm.

Here at Split This Rock we are thrilled to honor those who infuse activism with the creative power of the arts. We hope that you will join us in celebrating the vital work that Langston Hughes describes in the lines that inspired the name of the award:

The plow plowed a new furrow
Across the field of history.
Into that furrow the freedom seed was dropped.
Stay tuned for more details, and the announcement of the 2013 Freedom Plow Award winner!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Poem of the Week: Carlos Parada Ayala


Vaivén de fantasías
Los argonautas se albergaron
en la oscuridad de mis zapatos
y un dragón azul acudió
a encenderme la estufa.
El cielo limpio se escondió
en las gavetas del armario,
lo que explica el silencio
de los pájaros y el exceso
de neblina en la ropa que me puse.
Hoy la soledad es un vaivén
de fantasías.
Mejor así.
Ayer el día desató un
huracán de anzuelos
que dejó al mar vacío 
y al sol humedecido
como ojo de ballena herida.


The argonauts took shelter
in the darkness of my shoes
and a blue dragon arrived
to light the stove for me.
The clear sky hid
in my dresser drawers
which explains the silence
of the birds and the excess
of mist in the clothes I put on.
Today solitude is an ebbing and flowing
of fantasy.
Better this way.
Yesterday set off a
hurricane of fish hooks
that left the sea empty
and the sun slick                              
like the eye of an injured whale.

- Carlos Parada Ayala
[English Translation: Andrea Johnson]

Used by permission.

Carlos Parada Ayala is the author of the poetry book, La luz de la tormenta/The Light of the Storm (Zozobra Publishing, Maryland, 2013) and co-editor of the anthology Al pie de la Casa Blanca: Poetas hispanos de Washington, DC (North American Academy of the Spanish Language, New York, 2010.) This poetry anthology, co-edited with Argentinian poet Luis Alberto Ambroggio, was selected by the US Library of Congress to celebrate 400 years of poetry written in Spanish in the United States. Parada Ayala is a recipient of Washington, DC's, Commission on the Arts Larry Neal Poetry Award and has received the Commission's individual artist's fellowship.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.   

Friday, September 6, 2013

Poem of the Week: David Mura


Minneapolis Public  
There are 150 first languages in our schools
and so many aliens even E.T. would go unnoticed,  
though if your tongue moved one way in the land of your birth
it must move another now, awkward at first.

There are blacks here who've never been to Africa;
Africans who've never heard a Baptist prayer,
much less the solemn dirges of Lutherans
or how the artist formerly known is some sort of Prince.

In the anthology of American Buddhist poetry
you will find not one face of a Tibetan
but they are here with girls and boys named Tenzin
and one, my son's good friend, throws a hard mean spiral.

Esmir is not the name of a girl but a Bosnian
boy who crouches at a table and glues a lamp together
and later with my other son conspires on a book--"A Touch
of Rabies"--a heartbreaking tale of good dogs gone bad.

(Why tell a soul of the sieges that brought him here
or stories of the Dali Lama or the temples destroyed
or troops of the war lords in the streets of Somalia,
the borders dividing death from safety if not evil and good?)

Say you're Egyptian or Haitian: Here you're singular,
not part of a Big Apple ghetto. If you're Chinese,
most likely you're adopted, or else your parents study
engineering at the U. And have I mentioned the Mexicans?

In West Side Story the rumble starts with Puerto Ricans
and working class whites in a high school gym;
this year Maria's still Natalie Wood white to Jamaica's
half-black Anita and the Jets sport blacks, one Tibetan,

and my happa daughter who still doesn't question
such casting, or why Bye Bye Birdie last year
just might not be the choice of half the school
for a song and dance they could take on as their own.

Still at the spring school dance J-Lo and Ja Rule
set the awkward bump and grind of junior high girls
and the boys watch on the sidelines as boys that age do,
whether Bosnian, black, white, Somali, Tibetan.

I'm told we live in the Land of Great Lake Wobegon
where all the women are strong, the men good looking,
and the children above average--and, I always add,
everyone's white. Hey, Tenzin, Nabil, go tell Garrison:

Not now. Not quite.

- David Mura 

From Angels for the Burning (BOA Editions, 2004)
Used by permission.

David Mura will publish his fourth poetry collection, The Last Incantations, with Northwestern University Press in March, 2014. Mura's other poetry books are Angels for the Burning, The Colors of Desire (Carl Sandburg Literary Award), and After We Lost Our Way (a National Poetry Series Contest winner). He has also published two memoirs, Turning Japanese and Where the Body Meets Memory, and a novel, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire. His book of poetry criticism is Song for Uncle Tom, Tonto & Mr. Moto: Poetry & Identity. He teaches at the Stonecoast MFA Program and the VONA Writers' Conference.