Friday, January 28, 2011

2011 Poetry Contest: Winners Announced!

Split This Rock is thrilled to announce the winners of our fourth annual poetry contest, judged by 2010 featured poet Jan Beatty.


  • First Prize: "Photograph-Gaylani, Baghdad," by Constance Norgren, Brooklyn, New York. Constance receives $500, free festival registration, and an invitation to read the winning poem at Split This Rock Poetry Festival in March 2012.
  • Second Prize: "Daughter," by Catherine Calabro, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Catherine receives $250 and free registration at the 2012 festival.
  • Third Prize: "The Strap-On Speaks," by Kendra DeColo, Nashville, Tennessee. Kendra receives $250 and free registration at the 2012 festival.

Read the winning poems here.

Honorable Mention
  • "In a Jerusalem Market" by Naomi Benaron, Tucson, Arizona
  • "Msenge" by Casey Charles, Missoula, Montana
  • "The Rising" by Raina J. León, Germany
We are grateful to Jan Beatty, our volunteers and interns, and all the poets for their submissions - we hope you will consider sharing your work with us in future years. Submission fees help support the mission of Split This Rock, integrating the poetry of provocation and witness into public life and supporting the poets who do this vital work.

Judge's Statement

"It was an honor to judge the poems for the 2011 Split This Rock Contest. What comes through in all the entries is a sense of integrity of voice, coupled with a feeling that something necessary and urgent is at stake. This urgency expresses itself in the risks taken with content, as writers enter the borderlands around body and country, crossing the boundaries into spirit. In the act of addressing the difficult and the unsayable, these poems bring hope."
-Jan Beatty

And a reminder to check out all of Split This Rock's activities during AWP next week. Details are here. We look forward to seeing you!

With gratitude for all who continue to speak out for justice,

Split This Rock

AWP Events: Writers Against War & Occupation in Afghanistan & Iraq

Join us for an organized, authorized protest:

Writers Against War & Occupation in Afghanistan & Iraq

Thursday February 3, 3:30-4:30 pm, Rain, Snow, or Shine


Assemble in Lafayette Park, Pennsylvania Ave. (across from the White House) at 3:30 pm. Walk across the street to the sidewalk in front of the White House (Metro stops: Farragut North or McPherson Square). Critical mass gathering for a show of unity in opposition to U.S. Wars and Occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. A minute of silence will be observed for each year of each war (sixteen minutes), followed by our simultaneous reading of lines of poetry (probably lines from Whitman). We will end this brief action by chanting Stop Funding War.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

AWP Events: Gulf Tolls

AWP is now less than a week away! Continuing our on-going coverage, Split This Rock presents:

Gulf Tolls - A Poetry Reading in Tribute to the Gulf of Mexico and Surrounding Regions

Busboys & Poets 14th & V Streets NW
$5 suggested donation. None turned away.

Split This Rock and Poets for Living Waters are partnering to offer a poetry tribute to the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding regions.

Readers will include: Naomi Ayala, Ana Bozicevic, Nicole Cooley, Peter Cooley, Amy King, Brenda Hillman, Katherine Howell, Brenda Iijima, Jan Heller Levi, Gregory Pardlo, Lisa Pegram, Martha Serpas, Kevin Simmonds, Sandra Simmonds, Jonathan Skinner, Patricia Smith, Heidi Lynn Staples, Melissa Tuckey, Anne Waldman, and more.

RSVP on Facebook

Please join us for a night of provocation and witness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

AWP Events: Floricanto in Washington

Floricanto in Washington: A Multicultural Reading in Response to SB 1070

Friday, February 4th, 6:00 pm, The True Reformer Building, 1200 U Street, NW. $5 suggested donation. None turned away.

Co-sponsored by Split This Rock, the Acentos Poetry Foundation, and Poets Responding to SB 1070

Join us as more than 20 poets lend their energy and language to a group reading in response to Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and in resistance to the atmosphere of national xenophobia under which the bill (and its emerging counterparts) were created.

Confirmed readers include: Francisco X. Alarcon, Tara Betts, Sarah Browning, Regie Cabico, Carmen Calatayud, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Susan Deer Cloud, Martín Espada, Odilia Galvan Rodriguez, Carmen Gimenez Smith, Aracelis Girmay, Randall Horton, Juan Felipe Herrera, Dorianne Laux, Marilyn Nelson, Mark Nowak, Barbara Jane Reyes, Joseph Ross, Abel Salas, Sonia Sanchez, Craig Santos Perez, Hedy Trevino, Pam Uschuk, Dan Vera, Rich Villar, and Andre Yang.

Hosted by Oscar Bermeo.

Please join us in standing for unity and solidarity.

For an easy commute take the Circulator Bus to the corner of U & 14th only $1!

RSVP: Facebook Event Page

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Poem of the Week: Judith Roche

Throw Aways

For the boys at Green Hill Correctional Center

They are only boys, though murderers and rapists.
Bad skin is an issue. Candy bars a treat.
Some are fathers. Few have fathers.

Ink pens are contraband,
though new tattoos bloom daily on arms
enflamed by needles and pain.

Beast and throw-away child,
no one knows where they get the needles.
Hate: Love Live: Die

They remember beatings and fishing trips,
will hurt themselves if no one will do it for them.
Or one another. Innocence assumes forgiveness.

They are both the beast who lives
at the heart of the Labyrinth
and feeds upon the flesh of others

and the children thrown to the beast
to twist and turn in serpentine path
until they meet the hunger that will tear them apart.

One boy stares silent with wounded eyes, tied tongue,
and writes a poem of ten women whose red dresses spread
about their twenty severed hands in pooled blood.

Even the other boys say he is sick. They haven't
read his countryman, Lorca, who writes of sliced-off breasts,
the stain of three hundred crushed crimson roses.

Neither has this heavily medicated boy,
whose imagination flies, an unencumbered bird,
beyond betrayal and forgiveness, beyond his drugged fog.

He's found a vein, an underground river
he can ride to the lyrical heart of his own brutal poem.
The difference is his violence does not stay on the page.

-Judith Roche

From Wisdom of the Body, Black Heron Press.

Used by permission.

Judith Roche is the author of three poetry collections, most recently, Wisdom of the Body, an American Book Award winner, has published widely in journals and magazines, has poems installed on several Seattle area public art projects and has taught at various universities. She has written extensively about Northwest native salmon and edited First Fish, First People, Salmon Tales of the North Pacific Rim (also an American Book Award
winner) and is a Fellow in Black Earth Institute.

Roche was on the panel "Giving Voice to the Silence/d"at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the
Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

Split This Rock

Monday, January 24, 2011

Continuing our list of upcoming AWP events:

Saturday, February 5th, 1:30 pm
Mariott Wardman Park, Marriott Ballroom, Lobby Level

Undivided: Poet as Public Citizen

Sponsored by Split This Rock Poetry Festival
With: M
elissa Tuckey, Toi Derricotte, Martín Espada, Carolyn Forché, Mark Nowak

Split This Rock celebrates poetry of provocation and witness and the role of poet as public citizen. In a time of multiple wars, economic, social, and environmental crises, this panel will discuss the role of poets and poetry in public life. Shelley described the poet as "unacknowledged legislator." What does this mean in the age of Fox News and corporate lobbyists? What are some of the ways that poets are engaging with the larger public in the United States and abroad? Who are the models for this work? How might we begin to think of ourselves as undivided: both citizen and poet?

Melissa Tuckey is a poet, activist, and translator. She’s author of /Rope as Witness/ (chapbook: Pudding house) and has received numerous awards for her work, including a Fine Arts Work Center fellowship.She’s a co-founder of Split This Rock, and currently lives in Ithaca, New York.

Toi Derricotte earned her B.A. in special education from Wayne State University and her M.A. in English literature from New York University. Her books of poetry include Tender (1997) which won the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize; Captivity (1989); Natural Birth (1983); and The Empress of the Death House (1978). She is also the author of a literary memoir, The Black Notebooks (W.W. Norton, 1997), which won the 1998 Annisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction.

Martín Espada has published seventeen books in all as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. The Republic of Poetry, a collection of poems published by Norton in 2006, received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; his next collection, The Trouble Ball, is forthcoming from Norton in spring 2011. A former tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Carolyn Forché is the author of four books of poetry: Blue Hour (HarperCollins, 2004); The Angel of History (1994), which received the Los Angeles Times Book Award; The Country Between Us (1982), which received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was the Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets; and Gathering the Tribes (1976), which was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets by Stanley Kunitz. Her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.. Carolyn Forché teaches in the MFA Program at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Mark Nowak is a documentary poet, social critic, and labor activist, whose writings include Shut Up Shut Down (afterword by Amiri Baraka), a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” and the recently published book on coal mining disasters in the US and China, Coal Mountain Elementary (2009), that Howard Zinn has called “a stunning educational tool.”