Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Quarry's Top 10 Most-Viewed Poems of 2017

In 2017, readers turned most often to ten poems that affirm our humanity, mourn our wounds and loss, and that speak to us of reunion and joyful rebellion.

We are delighted to present the ten most-viewed poems published in Split This Rock’s social justice poetry database, The Quarry, in 2017. They represent this country’s greatest strength – the variety of our residents' backgrounds and the clarifying views they offer on living this human and troubled American life. In 2017 the all-time most read poems changed to the top two poems of 2017. Previously the All Time Number 1 Poem was Ross Gay’s “A Small Needful Fact,”and still holds at Number 3 since The Quarry went online. You may read previous collections of most-viewed poems on Blog This Rock.

Many of these top ten poems also happen to connect to Split This Rock’s history and directly to our work in 2017. Amanda Gorman, the first US Youth Poet Laureate, offered her inaugural poem for Poem of the Week. Melissa Tuckey is a co-founder of the organization, and the poems by Keno Evol, Purvi Shah, and Keith Wilson all placed in the Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest in 2017.  Richard Blanco featured at Richard Blanco featured at Split This Rock’s fifth anniversary celebration, and Aracelis Girmay featured at the poetry festival in 2016. Both of their poems were part of a special portfolio edition of Poem of the Week published on inauguration day 2017.

Kazim Ali will feature at this year’s Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness in Washington, DC from April 19 through April 21, along with Elizabeth Acevedo, Kazim Ali, Ellen Bass, Sherwin Bitsui, Kwame Dawes, Camille Dungy, Ilya Kaminsky, Sharon Olds, Sonia Sanchez, Solmaz Sharif, Terisa Siagatonu, Paul Tran, Javier Zamora! We do hope you can join us. Early bird rates are available until February 23! Visit Split This Rock's website for details.

2017’s most-viewed poems run the gamut from mourning to celebration. These poems mourn our distance from the future world we deserve. These poems provoke us to embrace and behold each other. These poems witness the way to a future we know is possible. That future is a social world organized with our dignity at its center. That future ennobles us, lets us live in cooperation with nature, in our varied and glorious bodies, sustained by the many shapes and textures of our love. That future lets us share stories and languages and practices, lets us share all of them knowing they will be honored for the sacred inheritance they are.

In these ten poems, and all the poems of The Quarry, we can hear intimations of the future we mean to live, we can hear her warm breath singing full-throated and ready.
1   Declaration of Interdependence, by Richard Blanco
2   YOU ARE WHO I LOVE, by Aracelis Girmay
3   Do You Speak Persian, by Kaveh Akbar
4   Politics of an Elegy, by Hieu Mihn Nguyen
5   In This Place (An American Lyric), by Amanda Gorman
6   Shooting for the Sky, by Purvi Shah
7   Requiem, Melissa Tuckey
8   Peach, by Kazim Ali
9   Black Matters, by Keith Wilson

We invite readers to find these poem in The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database, along with their 475-plus kin, to find in these poems the sense of belonging that fuels the long work of resistance and imagination. The poems are searchable by social justice theme and indexed to encourage discovery.

We hear of the poems being used by teachers in classrooms, for writing workshops, in vigils, performances, worship services, and more! The poems are traveling the country and the world with their witness and their provocation. Everywhere these poems are read, they insist that the beloved community Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of is not a lost idea and that our path to a just and thriving world begins with seeing each other clearly, with generous vision.

In Split This Rock’s tenth anniversary year, we are firming up plans to expand The Quarry’s reach even further, so it continues to function not only as a repository of excellent poetry, but as an active tool for those who seek to make justice present in our time. We’re always open to innovative ideas from Splitistas– for organizing, teaching, worship, reflection. Email your story of using The Quarry to

M. F. Simone Roberts
Managing Editor of The Quarry
Split This Rock Poetry & Social Justice Fellow

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