Friday, April 27, 2012
Poem of the Week sends one poem per week on a social issue to a wide audience: Split This Rock's list serv and Facebook group (now totaling over 3,000 nationwide, combined), and the national and international networks of the Institute for Policy Studies. We also post the poem here on the blog. We encourage everyone who receives the poem to forward and post it widely, so that it reaches a broad public.
Please send us poems for consideration. Guidelines are as follows:
Friday, April 20, 2012
.......for Meherunnessa Chowdhury, 1924-2010
Originally appeared in The Missouri Review.
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!
Monday, April 16, 2012
- “All readings were amazing -- combinations of styles and poets, June Jordan, and youth.”
- “Meeting such super attendees and poets was a huge highlight for me.”
- “Good selection and variety of workshops, variety of people in attendance, appreciated the involvement of young and old, gay and straight, people of color, etc.”
- “Amazingly smooth and non-frantic logistics!”
- The poetry action at the Supreme Court was amazing/The poetry action at the Supreme Court was uninspiring
- The schedule was too tight/The schedule had too much down time
- It’s great to be able to walk around U Street to the different venues/Don’t make me walk around, hold everything in one place
- Such and such poet rocked my world/Such and such poet was disappointing
Friday, April 13, 2012
In a Summer of Snipers
In a summer of snipers
with fingers pressed
trying to squeeze away
But you lifted your hands
just learning to sing
not yet won.
with no protection
its bullets, its boundaries
a lynching tree,
You raised your hands,
and held us all
where no rope
Used by permission.
Joseph Ross is part of the vibrant literary community in the Washington, D.C. area. His poems appear in many anthologies including Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion and Spirituality, Come Together: Imagine Peace, Full Moon on K Street, and Poetic Voices 1 and 2. His work also appears in a variety of journals including Poet Lore, Tidal Basin Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Drumvoices Revue, and Sojourners. He has read at the Library of Congress and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. An early member of D.C. Poets Against the War, he co-edited Cut Loose The Body: An Anthology of Poems on Torture and Fernando Botero's Abu Ghraib. He founded and directs the Writing Center at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C. and has taught writing at American University. He writes regularly at JosephRoss.net.
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!
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
O.B. Hardison Poetry Series presents “Nothing Personal: The Dark Room Collective Reunion Reading Tour”
Renowned African American Poets Look Back on 25 years
(WASHINGTON, DC) The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series at the Folger Shakespeare Library presents an evening of poetry with The Dark Room Collective on Monday, April 30 at 6:30pm. Nothing Personal features Collective members Tisa Bryant, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Major Jackson, John Keene, Tracy K. Smith, Sharan Strange, Natasha Trethewey, and Kevin Young. In 1996 The New Yorker deemed them “…a group that could turn well out to be as important to American letters as the Harlem Renaissance.” The evening will also include a discussion moderated by Meta DuEwa Jones and a reception with book sales and signing. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for students and may be purchased at Folger box office, 202.544.7077, or online at www.folger.edu/poetry.
Founded in Boston in 1987 by Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange, The Dark Room Collective began as an informal community of African American poets. Poet and member Major Jackson described the Collective as “a group of aspiring black writers and artists who spanned outwards with large arms to embrace any black writer who had a sophistication and commitment to art and artfulness.” The group has gone on to distinguished careers, winning awards and marking literary achievements for their exuberant works.
Tisa Bryant works with innovative hybrid formats, including essays, prose poetry, cinematic novels, and ekphrastic writing. She explores the relationships between artist, art, and viewer with a focus on ethnicity, sexuality, identity, and myth. She wrote Unexplained Presence and Tzimmes, and is co-editor of War Diaries, an anthology of black gay male desire and survival, which was nominated Best LGBTQ anthology by the LAMBDA Literary Awards. She is a faculty member at California Institute of the Arts.
Multi-talented Thomas Sayers Ellis is a poet, photographer, and co-founder of The Dark Room Collective. “The fine and noble tradition of protest poetry is in safe, strong hands with this latest collection,” wrote the New York Journal of Books about Ellis’ recently published SKIN, INC.: Identity Repair Poems. Ellis is the author of The Maverick Room, which won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award, and was a recipient of a Mrs. Giles Whiting Writers’ Award. Ellis is an assistant professor at Sarah Lawrence College, a faculty member of the Lesley University, and a Caven Canem faculty member.
With his story-telling poetry, Major Jackson celebrates the complexities and subtleties of the American landscape, its people, and their environment. He has written several collections of poetry, including Hoops and Leaving Saturn, which was winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Jackson is a professor at University of Vermont and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He serves as the poetry editor of the Harvard Review.
John Keene explores identity and its many facets, from race and social class to sexuality, with the rhythmic craft of his poetry and prose. He is the author of the award-winning novel Annotations and of the poetry collection Seismosis. He has received many fellowships, a 2005 Whiting Foundation Award in Fiction and Poetry, and a 2008 Fellowship for Distinguished First Collection from the inaugural Pan-African Literary Forum. He is an associate professor of English and African American studies at Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, Northwestern University.
Tracy K. Smith’s poetry questions love, loss, and social justice, as well as examining God, death, and the impact people have on each other and the planet. She has written three books of poetry: Life on Mars, Duende, and The Body's Question. Smith is the recipient of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a 2004 Rona Jaffe Writers Award, a 2005 Whiting Award, and the 2006 James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, and was Literature protégé of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. She is an assistant professor or creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.
With Southern wit and direct eloquence, poet Sharan Strange describes the beauty and pain of life, family, neighborhood, childhood wonder, and innocence lost. Strange, a co-founder of The Dark Room Collective and a contributing and advisory editor of Callaloo, is the author of Ash, a collection of poems. Strange has been a writer-in-residence at Fisk University, Spelman College, the University of California at Davis, and the California Institute of the Arts. She is a professor of English at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga.
Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey writes about the working-class in the South, showing personal journeys in the landscape of history, and drawing on her own experiences for enrichment. Her first collection of poetry, Domestic Work, was the winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Trethewey’s other works include Native Guard, which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Bellocq's Ophelia and a book of creative non-fiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She is a professor of English at Emory University.
Kevin Young draws inspiration from African American music and American history in his poetic tales full of sorrow and insight. The New York Times Book Review described his book Black Maria as “highly entertaining, often dazzling, and, as book reviewers like to say—but rarely about contemporary poetry—compulsively readable.” Young has written seven books of poetry, including Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebellion and Jelly Roll: A Blues, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. He is a professor of creative writing and English, and curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University in Atlanta.
Moderater Meta DuEwa Jones, Ph.D specializes in poetry of the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly in relation to gender, sexuality, performance, and music. Her book, The Muse is Music: Jazz Poetry From the Harlem Renaissance to Spoken Word, was noted as “an important addition to the growing literature about jazz poetry” by Choice. Jones is co-director of the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies, as well as an associate professor of English and African American studies at University of Texas at Austin.
DATE & TIME: Monday, April 30 at 6:30pm
LOCATION: Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC
TICKETS: $15 adults / $7.50 students; Purchase at the Folger box office, 202.544.7077, or www.folger.edu/poetry
METRO: Capitol South (blue/orange lines), 4 blocks
PARKING: Street parking in neighborhood.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Split This Rock calls poets to the center of public life and fosters a national network of socially engaged poets. From our home in the nation’s capital we celebrate poetic diversity and the transformative power of the imagination. All of Split This Rock’s programs are designed to integrate poetry of provocation and witness into public life and to support the poets who write and perform this critical work.
Split This Rock’s cornerstone program is a national festival, held every two years in Washington, DC. The next festival is scheduled for March, 2014. We also have a robust youth program, publish poetry online, organize social justice campaigns, and present readings, workshops, and discussions year-round. For more information, please see the website: www.splitthisrock.org
The Assistant Director’s role is to provide organizational, fundraising, and programmatic support to further Split This Rock’s mission. The mix of duties varies based on the cycle of the organization; during festival years, the festival is the primary focus. In off years, the focus will be on organizational development, fundraising, and Split This Rock’s other programs.
This position is full-time, including some evening and weekend hours. Split This Rock, though an independent non-profit organization, is housed within the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, located blocks from the White House. We are a small, scrappy organization fueled by passion for social justice and a love of poetry and the arts.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Lead festival planning and implementation
- Work closely with the Executive Director to recruit and support a volunteer Festival Planning Committee
- Maintain a festival work plan and calendar
- Serve as liaison to panel and workshop facilitators
- Manage featured poet travel, accommodations, and hospitality
- Serve as liaison to venues and vendors
- Administer registrations and scholarships
- Provide oversight for program book and festival materials
- Ensure festival accessibility
- Oversee volunteer recruitment and management
- Document processes and procedures
- Assist with other programs as needed
- Plan and implement Split This Rock events
- Build partnerships, both local and national
· Manage website, including a 2012 redesign process
· Coordinate Split This Rock communications strategy
· Work to increase subscribers to all forms of communication, including snail mail, email, Facebook, blog, Twitter
- Oversee festival marketing
- Develop marketing timeline, in consultation with committee and director
- Manage marketing procurement
- print materials (postcard, brochure, poster, etc.)
- website, email campaign, social media
- Research and acquire donor management software
- Implement donor management system
- Work with the director to develop a fundraising calendar
- Monitor foundation and government grant and reporting deadlines
- Oversee direct mail and email fundraising campaigns
- Assist the director with grant writing, as needed
- Work with the Fundraising Committee to plan and carry out fundraising events
Administration and Finance:
- Recruit, train, and manage volunteers and interns
- Manage electronic and paper filing systems
Reporting: The Assistant Director will report to the Executive Director and will work in partnership with staff, board members, and volunteers to assist in preparation, organization, implementation, and documentation of Split This Rock’s programs.
Skills and Background: The ideal candidate for the position of Assistant Director will have:
· A commitment to social justice and the role that the arts can play in social change
· Extensive experience in events management and working in non-profit settings
· Strong intercultural understanding
· Proven written and oral communication skills
· Fundraising experience
· Volunteer management experience
· Demonstrated excellent attention to detail
· A BA or equivalent experience
The projected start date is late May, 2012. Salary is in the 40s, plus benefits.
Split This Rock is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and encourages applications from people of color, women, differently-abled, LGBTQ, and other groups that have historically been subject to discrimination.
To apply, submit a résumé, writing sample, and thoughtful cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org“Application for Assistant Director” in the subject line. Deadline: April 30, 2012. No calls please.
From our friends at St. Mary's College:
The Chesapeake Writers Conference at St. Mary's College of Maryland
July 11-15, 2012
Join a community of writers on Maryland's beautiful Western Shore for the first Chesapeake Writers' Conference at St. Mary's College of Maryland. For five days we will focus intensively on writing in small, selective workshops led by acclaimed writers.
Participants will work with faculty closely to hone their craft in one of six genres:fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, food writing, writing about place, and writing for children. Craft classes, lectures on writing, and discussions of publishing will supplement the intensive workshop experience, and recreational activities will allow participants to explore and enjoy the beaches, bays, wineries and restaurants of the region.
Patricia Henley (fiction)
Jeffrey Hammond (creative non-fiction)
Matthew Henry Hall (writing for children)
Michael Glaser (poetry)
Ana Maria Spagna (writing about place)
Tenaya Darlington (food writing)
Total Cost for residential attendees: $900
Total Cost for commuters: $700
Questions: Email ChesapeakeWritersConference@smcm.edu
All applications are due by May 15, 2012
Visit http://www.smcm.edu/summer/writing for submission and regisration information.
We begin here a series of reports from panels and workshops that took place during Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2012. Many times, folks asked us to post discussion notes or suggested reading lists that emerged from sessions.
To kick us off, Celeste Doaks brings us the list generated by her panel on essential reading for the new American classroom.
Please comment to add your suggestions to this list and/or make requests for notes from other sessions, etc. See the full festival schedule here. If you'd like to post your session notes, please contact us at email@example.com. Let's keep the conversation going!
Rewriting the Literary Canon
The wonderful participants who took their time to attend our panel entitled "Should We Traverse from White-Out to Brown-Out, or Land Somewhere In Between? Female Teachers Rewriting the Literary Canon in the Classroom" were gracious enough to help us begin an initial list of poetry and prose that was either being omitted, ignored or overlooked from the typical literary canon.
This list was generated with care and concern for those women and men being held out by the gatekeepers, for whatever reasons. We hope you will explore, enjoy and spread widely to all concerned parties! This ongoing global literary conversation taking place in classrooms nationwide must strive to be inclusive, not exclusive. Feel free to add your own poetry or prose suggestion that may expand our list....
Sharon Bridgforth’s -The Bull-Jean Stories
Kiana Davenport- Shark Dialogues
Bohumil Hrabal -Too Loud a Solitude
Keri Hulme- The Bone People
Michael Cirelli - Lobster with Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Linda Hull – The Only World
Kelly Norman Ellis -Offerings of Desire
Willie Perdomo-Where a Nickel Costs A Dime
Lois Roma-Deeley -High Notes