Saturday, March 19, 2016

#SplitThisRock2016 Sessions: History & Elders

Split This Rock 2016: Poems of Provocation & Witness present sessions on our history and our elder poets.

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

And hey: Pre-registration is open now until March 31

Photo by Kristin Adair.
Celebrating the Poetry of Pat Parker
Kazim Ali, Cheryl Clarke, Julie Enszer, Bettina Judd
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 300 [Map]
Thursday, April 14 11:30am – 1:00pm

Pat Parker (1944-1989) was an influential poet and activist in feminist publishing, whose work as a poet and activist reflects the intersection of a variety of feminist and alternative publishing practices during the 1970s and 1980s. Parker’s poetry grapples with the multiple, intersecting oppressions that she experienced as an African-American woman and lesbian who both experienced and witnessed violence. Her work lends powerful words to these experiences. For example, in “Progeny” Parker writes, “It is difficult/to teach my child/the beauty of flowers/in a field/at the same time/I warn her about/the dangers of/open spaces.” Plain-spoken, but rhythmic and musical, Parker’s verse brings humor and pathos to readers and listeners. During her lifetime, Parker’s work circulated as widely as the work of Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, and Judy Grahn. Revered as poet, Parker also was a member of the Women’s Press Collective, the first lesbian-feminist publishing collective in the United States, founded in 1969. Today, Parker’s contributions as a publisher and a poet have fallen into obscurity, but a new edition of The Complete Works of Pat Parker will be released in April 2016.

from this paradise into the next: Tributes to Poets Lost Since Split This Rock 2014
Hosted by Sarah Browning
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 101 [Map]
Thursday, April 14 4 – 5:30pm

Photo by Kristin Adair.
Join us as we pay tribute to the many poets who’ve left us over the past two years. Bring a poem by a poet who was important to you or a story about his or her impact. We’ll have a sign-up sheet and organize the session open mic style, with three-minute slots. We’ll remember such poets as Jack Agüeros, Francisco X. Alarcón, Maya Angelou, Henry Braun, Justin Chin, Eduardo Galeano, Jose “Joe” Gouveia, Galway Kinnell, Philip Levine, C.K. Williams, C.D. Wright, and others. We’ll also create a group poem with lines by each ancestor, to be posted on the blog during the festival, starting with these lines from Francisco X. Alarcón:mountains/will speak/for you//rain/will flesh/your bones.

Research as Inspiration and Muse
A. Van Jordan, Reginald Harris, Kim Roberts, Frank X Walker, Dan Vera
Human Rights Campaign Room 105 AB [Map]
Friday 2:00-3:30pm
This roundtable will explore how primary sources, such as historical archives, oral histories, diaries, and newspapers, can be the starting point of poems. We will discuss how we incorporate factual information, how public and personal histories intersect, and how poems can serve as a corrective for stories of forgotten people and events that might not otherwise enter the cultural memory. We will address specific issues of craft: how can we remain true to the facts and not impede our imagination? How do we keep our poems from becoming too didactic? Panelists will give examples from their own work and the poems of others that have inspired them, and talk about their experience as researchers.

Writing for Hmong Freedom Over Three Generations
Chitzia Lyfoung, Pacyinz Lyfoung
Foundry United Methodist Church Davenport Center [Map]
Saturday, April 16 11:30am – 1:00pm

This reading will include materials from three generations, using the word to document the Hmong people's struggle for freedom across countries and continents. Readings will be from original letters by the only Hmong man who recorded in writing the struggle for his people's freedom, which was tied to the greater struggle for democracy in Indochina; a memoir by his son; and poems by his granddaughter.

The Golden Shovel: Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks
Reginald Dwayne Betts, E. Ethelbert Miller, Wesley Rothman, Ravi Shankar, Leah Umansky, Jeanann Verlee
Beacon Hotel [Map]
Saturday, April 16 2:00pm – 3:30pm

This interactive reading will celebrate the continued influence of Gwendolyn Brooks through the introduction of the "Golden Shovel," a form created by MacArthur genius grant winner Terrance Hayes in which he draws on Brooks's much-anthologized poem, “We Real Cool," encoding the words into his own poem. The poets will share work from the forthcoming Golden Shovel Anthology, which will celebrate the centenary of Ms. Brooks's birth. The session will include the story of the Golden Shovel form and anthology, sharing poems by Gwendolyn Brooks and the participants; recall Brooks's legacy as poet and witness; and implore attendees to listen and speak their provocation and witness through the Golden Shovel form.

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