Monday, March 28, 2016

#SplitThisRock2016 Sessions: Class & Labor

We are pleased to present a selection of sessions on themes of class and labor at Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2016: Poems of Provocation & Witness.

For the full festival program, please visit the program page here.

Migration and Identity: Interrogating Privilege Through Poetry
Benjamin Brezner, Marcos Martinez, Sean Pears, Susan Tichy
AFL-CIO Gompers Room [Map]

Thursday, April 14 2:00pm – 3:30pm

How do privileges stemming from race, ethnicity, class, gender, and migration intersect in our lives? Writers and activists of all backgrounds need to understand how overlapping regimes of privilege work, in order to dismantle them. Panelists will address how they write about privilege as they explore the relationships between migration and identity. Through hands-on writing activities, participants will have the opportunity to interrogate the sources of our uneven social structures and to write about their own experience. In this session, we hope to take one small step towards building a community in which we feel comfortable working together and exploring these topics through our poetry. Writers will leave with additional resources to spark the creation of new poems.

And The Earth Did Not Devour Us: A Farmworker Reading Sarah A. Chavez, Miguel Morales, Neftali Cuello Villalobos

Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 300 [Map]
Friday, April 15 11:30am – 1:00pm

The 2016 election is already steeped in issues of immigration and the working class. Immigrant stories from privileged politicians will flood the media with manipulated images of workers and uncontextualized data. This information is incapable of communicating the nuance in the material lives of farmworkers who are so often used to polarize public policy. For that we’ll need literature and art. This reading features diverse, award-winning writers in various stages of their careers who have themselves labored as farmworkers. Despite differences in age (early 20s to late 40s), education (PhDs to high school drop-outs), and geography (West coast, Midwest, South), they share a drive to revisit and honor aspects of the farmworker experience that often go unrecognized: the connection between culture and farm labor, the disabling of the body, the intersection of gender and sexuality in labor and labor movements. They will read from their own work and share and discuss the farmworker literature that influenced their writing.

Off The Page, On Your Feet: Moving To Labor Poetry
Elise Bryant, Rocky Delaplaine
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 300 [Map]
Friday, April 15 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Activism and activists thrive in a community of kindred spirits. It takes courage to speak truth to power. Like laughter, courage is contagious and can be cultivated, nurtured, passed along. In this workshop we will pick a few potent poems about work, and back up the words with the power of our breath, volume and timbre of voice, gesture, expression, and shared movement. When we stand, move, and speak truths using the medium of poetry, we embody courage and become its transmitter.

DC Worker Poets Occupy the Mic
Mark Nowak & Worker Poets of DC
Beacon Hotel [Map]
Saturday, April 16 11:30am – 1:00pm

Worker Writers, an Institute founded by Mark Nowak in collaboration with the PEN American Center, organizes and facilitates poetry workshops with global trade unions, workers’ centers, and other progressive labor organizations. These workshops create a space for participants to re-imagine their working lives, nurture new literary voices directly from the global working class, and produce new tactics and imagine new futures for working class social change. Building on our work in NYC with workers centers such as Domestic Workers United, the Taxi Workers Alliance, Street Vendor Project, and Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, these workshops will engage Washington, DC, workers in writing new poems and sharing them together in a public group reading at Split This Rock Poetry Festival. For updates from the workshop, follow us at @WorkerWriters.

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