Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Special Interest: Activism panels @ Split This Rock 2014

To help you plan your festival schedule, we broke down panels, workshops, and group readings by special interest. Check out those dealing with activism below!


    Thursday 3/27:

4-5:30pm – Human Rights Campaign, Rm 105C
Talking Back to the World: Using Poetry and Performance to Speak Out Against Injustice
Renée Watson, Nanya-Akuki Goodrich, Ellen Hagan

In response to newspaper headlines, quotes, and statistics, participants will create a collaborative poem and performance. We will explore how poets have responded to injustice through their writing and will discuss how poetry can give voice to the silenced. Hands-on writing and performance activities will give participants tools to use in the classroom for motivating students to write poetry. How can using performance poetry in the classroom encourage students to explore social issues and use their artistic voice for action?

4-5:30pm – Beacon Hotel, Beacon Room
Poetic Strategies for Change
Sheila Black, Shailja Patel

How are poets working within movements for social change? And how are social change organizations creatively integrating poetry into their organizing strategies? What difference are we making? Hear from poets and activists and learn strategies to take back to your own communities, local, national, and global. (More details forthcoming.)

    Friday 3/28:

                   10-11am -  Take Poetry to the Streets! A Public Action
                    Details TBA

                   11:30am-1pm – Human Rights Campaign, Rm 105B
Silence as an Agent of Change
Kim Roberts, Therése Halscheid, Alison Hicks, Donna Baier Stern

This panel explores the silent self as an agent of change. Silence plays a role in the creative work of most writers, from the contemplative to the activist. Outwardly, it shows up as a reader’s pause, or as white space on the page. Inwardly, it can be the creative force out of which poignant lines and epiphanies occur. Whether internal or external, silence is a meaningful event that makes things happen. Panelists will examine the complexities of silence, the role it has played in their own writing, as well as engage attendees in sharing how silence has, or can be, a force in their own work, for solving personal and global issues.

                   2-3:30pm – Human Rights Campaign, Rm 105A
Bringing Poetry to the People
Elana Bell, Adam Falkner, Syreeta McFadden, Samantha Thornhill, Jon Sands

Poets in Unexpected Places (PUP) is an organization dedicated to placing poets and artists into unlikely public spaces for the purpose of engaging populations underexposed to poetry and making the genre more accessible. For this interactive performance panel, PUP’s curators will simulate one of their pop-up installations, followed by a short film and an interactive discussion around best practices for integrating the “immaterial culture of performance” into the public sphere, how to construct a multimedia narrative to cultivate a greater audience, and why it has never been more urgent to utilize the arts as a tool for community engagement.

4-5:30pm – Charles Sumner School, Rm 102
 Lines Behind Bars: Poetry from Prisons Concrete & Intangible
Mark Brazaitis, Katy Ryan, Marcus A. White, Jill McDonough

Nearly 2.3 million Americans—four times the population of Washington, DC—are in prison. "Lines Behind Bars: Poetry from Prisons Concrete and Intangible" will illuminate lives affected by imprisonment. Readings of both poetry and prose will address both literal incarceration and confining conditions such as mental illness. The connection between literal imprisonment and mental illness will also be highlighted; a large percentage of incarcerated women and men are mentally ill.
   Saturday 3/29:

9:30-11am – Institute for Policy Studies Conference Room  
Speaking the Unspeakable: Finding Voice for Trauma through Formal Poetry
Marilyn Nelson, Idra Novey, Pireeni Sundaralingam

Three award-winning poets share their work and discuss how the constraints imposed by formal poetic structures help free the creative writer in finding fresh ways to articulate trauma. The poets’ work grapples with the complexities of slavery, genocide, and imprisonment across multiple countries, using diverse structures from formal poetry. The panel will explore the poets’ personal experiences of how traditional verse forms can be used to challenge and remodel histories of violence and oppression.

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