Monday, March 21, 2016

#SplitThisRock2016 Sessions: International Issues and Connections

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

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

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

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016: Solidarity in Action
Amal al-Jubouri, Sarah Browning, Helen Frederick
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Gallery  [Map]
Thursday, April 14   11:30-1:00pm

Photo by Kristin Adair.
In the winter and early spring of 2016, Washington, DC was home to Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016, a unique book arts and cultural festival standing in solidarity with the people of Iraq and standing for free expression. Exhibits, programs, and events commemorated the 2007 bombing of Baghdad’s historic bookselling street. Split This Rock curated extensive literary programming, bringing 10 poets and translators from Arab America and the Arab and Muslim worlds to the DC area for readings, translation workshops, and public conversations about the impact of the US invasions in the region and the role that literature can play in building bridges and building justice. Organizers Browning and Frederick will be joined by Amal al-Jubouri, featured poet at both Split This Rock and Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016 and founder of Arab Human Rights Academy, who splits her time between Baghdad and London.are pleased to present a selection of sessions on themes of international concern and connections at Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2016: Poems of Provocation & Witness.

Queer Pan-Latinidad: A LBGTQ Latina/o Poetry Reading
Rosebud Ben-Oni, Nívea Castro, Denice Frohman, Rigoberto González, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Ruben Quesada
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 102 [Map]
Friday, April 15   2 – 3:30pm

Queerness and Latinidad both offer spaces to explore the complex, messy, and undefined parts of LGBTQ Latino/a poets. To combine both is to honor the queerness in Latinidad, and the Latinidad in queerness. Five Latina/o poets explore the diversity of Queer Latinidad, representations of marginalized communities such as Afro-Latino and Central American, and queer issues of racism and class. A question and answer session will follow the poetry reading, in order to engage with the audience on the rich complexities and nuances of Queer and/or Latino/a identity in 21st century poetry and poetics.

Revolt: Writing Poetry Inspired by Radical India
Minal Hajratwala, Ellen Kombiyil, Shikha Malaviya
Human Rights Campaign Room 105 C [Map]
Friday, April 15   4:00-5:30 pm

"I am broken by the revolt exploding inside me." – Namdeo Dhasal, poet and founder of the Dalit Panthers. In this powerful and engaging workshop, poets of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective draw poetic inspiration from activist art from various waves of political movements in India and the diaspora. Using prompts drawn from a variety of poets who have been engaged in activist movements, participants will write deeply into issues of exile, imperialism, identity, caste/color discrimination, sexuality, and more. We'll explore how verse turns the deeply personal detail into the universal, bringing to light little-known voices from India’s radical political traditions and injecting new energy into American poets wishing to engage with global revolutions. We’ll share all the materials so that participants can take them back and share with their own communities and/or students, diversifying their reading lists to include vibrant contemporary global voices of protest.

Writing Beneath War: The Middle East
Zeina Hashem Beck, Philip Metres, Solmaz Sharif
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 102 [Map]
Friday, April 15   4:00 - 5:30 pm

Photo by Kristin Adair.
A themed group reading and conversation among poets whose work has struggled against the machinery of orientalist representations that has poisoned Western views of the Middle East. These poets explore other ways of seeing and writing our relationship to the Middle East. Zeina Hashem Beck’s first collection, To Live in Autumn, centers on a post-war Beirut; more recent work juxtaposes war/ISIS/the Arab Spring with personal experience. About Philip Metres’ recent Sand Opera (2015), Mark Nowak writes: “His unrelenting scrutiny of peace, war resistance, and the military-industrial complex, coupled here with erasures…gives us a bold new libretto about the black site at the heart of this country.” Solmaz Sharif’s forthcoming book, LOOK (Graywolf 2016), is a poetic rewrite of the U.S. Department of Defense's dictionary, connecting the operations of military and political language to the fate of her Iranian family story. Hayan Charara’s Something Sinister (2016), his first book in a decade, grapples with the entangled conflicts of the personal and political. About Charara, Fady Joudah writes: “His poems feed us what we want, and what we think we want, because the poems have made a pact with us: that they will also offer us what we fear.”

Contemporary South African Spoken Word
Stephen Buabeng-Baidoo, Xitha Makgeta, Given “Illustrative” Masilela, Mthunzikazi A. Mbungwana, Mantombi Mbangata, Kgothatso Ngako, Thabiso Ngwena, Modise Sekgothe, Lucas Serei, Xabiso Vili
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 102 [Map]
Saturday, April 16    9:30am - 11:00 am

This reading and conversation features 10 poets from the capital City of Tshwane, South Africa, who were all Finalists in the Speak Out Loud Poetry Competition at the South African State Theatre. As part of a Sister Cities International Agreement, Split This Rock has been working with the City of Tshwane to organize an on-going arts and culture exchange program between Washington, DC and Tshwane, South Africa. Split This Rock is pleased to present our young sister and brother poet-activists of the New South Africa.

Now What? Everyday Experience and Resistance in the Middle East
LynleyShimat “Lynley” Lys, Nomi Stone, Philip Metres, Hala Alyan
Institute for Policy Studies Conference Room [Map]
Saturday, April 16    9:30am -11:00 am

This roundtable includes poets and translators of Middle Eastern poetry, focusing on Palestine, Iraq, and US military worlds, and the everyday experience and poetics of the spaces between war and peace, resistance and occupation. The group will present examples of Middle Eastern poetry in its relationship(s) to activism, resistance, and social justice in everyday spaces governed by war, occupation, and post-war considerations. It will provide attendees with background and discussion space to consider concepts of local and everyday resistance in the Middle East and its poetry.

Translation Ethics in the Digital World
Katherine E. Young, Patricia Davis, Tanya Paperny
Human Rights Campaign Room 105 C       [Map]
Saturday, April 16   11:30am – 1:00pm

Photo by Kristin Adair.
Translators speak for those who cannot express themselves in a given language. For practical reasons, previous generations of translators tended to work with politically powerful, wealthy, and literate elites in source language communities. Thanks to the digital revolution, however, translators can now easily access communities beyond those elites; they also now possess the means to publish and disseminate translated work, including materials subject to censorship in the source language community. What is the proper role of the translator in the digital universe? What are our responsibilities to ourselves, to those we translate, and to the larger communities seeking to transmit and receive information across language, social, and political barriers? Translators also increasingly serve as de facto online publishers and gatekeepers: what ethical questions should we consider in making translated materials public? The presenters – all of whom have translated materials that speak for politically oppressed peoples – will offer three specific, diverse models (activist, curator, and cultural interpreter) as a basis for thinking about the ethics of what translators do. This conversation is ongoing in the translation community: the presenters are actively seeking participant input to help better define an ethical translation practice in the digital world.
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.

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