Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Announcing Split This Rock's 2013 Poetry Contest

Announcing the 6th Annual 
Split This Rock  
Poetry Contest  

Judged by: Mark Doty  
  Mark Doty

Benefits Split This Rock Poetry Festival
March 27-30, 2014
$1,000 Awarded for poems of provocation and witness

Prizes: First place $500; 2nd and 3rd place, $250 each.

Winning poems will be published on www.SplitThisRock.org, winners will receive free festival registration, and the 1st-place winner will be invited to read winning poem at Split This Rock Poetry Festival, 2014.

Deadline: November 8, 2012 (extended from November 1 due to Hurricane Sandy)
Reading Fee: $20, which supports Split This Rock Poetry Festival, 2014. 

Details: Submissions should be in the spirit of Split This Rock: socially engaged poems, poems that reach beyond the self to connect with the larger community or world; poems of provocation and witness. This theme can be interpreted broadly and may include but is not limited to work addressing politics, economics, government, war, leadership; issues of identity (gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability, body image, immigration, heritage, etc.); community, civic engagement, education, activism; and poems about history, Americana, cultural icons.

Split This Rock subscribes to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics. Read it online here.

Submission guidelines:
Submit up to 3 unpublished poems, no more than 6 pages total, in any style, in the spirit of Split This Rock (see above). 

Simultaneous submissions OK, but please notify us immediately if the poem is accepted elsewhere.

For more information:   

Judge's Bio

Mark Doty's Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. He is the author of eight books of poems and four volumes of nonfiction prose including Dog Years, which was a New York Times bestseller in 2007.

Doty's poems have appeared in many magazines including The Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, Ploughshares, Poetry, and The New Yorker. Widely anthologized, his poems appear in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry and many other collections.  

Doty's work has been honored by the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, two Lambda Literary Awards, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction and the Witter Byner Prize. He is the only American poet to have received the T.S. Eliot Prize in the U.K., and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ingram Merrill and Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Foundations, and from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2011 Doty was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Poem of the Week: Quraysh Ali Lansana

Quraysh Ali Lansana
Photo by: Glodean Champion 
body shop      

i've heard tell of a hustle
in brooklyn where clever folks
throw themselves in front of cars
lurching down eastern parkway

not the beat-up green mini-vans
or duct tape toyotas of poets, not
impalas bleeding chrome
spinning disposable testosterone

but mid to high end machines
of certain insurance booty, drivers
in the 30 to 50 year range, same
demographic as oprah's audience

i suppose there is a right and wrong
approach to this science, the angles
of minimal damage to consider, side
to bumper, back to door, head up

unless her poodle is well groomed.
few have retired, i would speculate
but work less now that checks
lack bounce and the mailman walks briskly

it must be the eyes, wide and clean
that distinguish these impact alvin aileys
from ordinary jaywalkers

at utica i marvel at the desperate genius
the split-second calculus, the risks and gains
of such occupation, before descent
into the dark anonymity of the 4 train

-Quraysh Ali Lansana        

Used by permission.
From mystic turf, forthcoming from Willow Books, October 2012.    
Quraysh Ali Lansana is author of five poetry books, three textbooks, a children's book, editor of eight anthologies, and coauthor of a book of pedagogy. He is Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing at Chicago State University, where he served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing from 2002-2011. Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. mystic turf, a collection of poems, will be released in October 2012 by Willow Books.

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!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.    

Split This Rock

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mariposa Poetry Retreat, October 6-8, Waynesboro, PA

The 2nd annual Mariposa Poetry Retreat provides poets and writers, the time and space to focus on their work in a serene and beautiful setting away from the pressures and distractions of daily life.

The retreat promotes a safe and instructive environment that identifies and addresses the creative challenges faced by writers of all genres. The 2012 weekend retreat will take place at the Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA from Saturday, October 6th to Monday, October 8th and is open to writers 18 years of age and older.
A $75.00 registration fee is required to reserve your spot at the retreat.
The Retreat features:
v Workshop leaders who are actively engaged in the writing life
v Consultations with faculty and workshop facilitators
v Stimulating activities and workshops
v Opportunities to read new work
v Support and encouragement
v Informal social gatherings
v Panel discussions

A renowned DC area poet will facilitate each workshop. Workshops will consist of writing exercises and group discussions on participants' work. At each workshop, participants are encouraged to write and workshop their poems. Participants will have the opportunity to take a workshop with each Faculty member.  
The Mariposa Poetry Retreat is held on the 260 acre Capital Retreat Center located in the Catoctin Mountains in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, just 90 minutes north of Washington, DC.  This setting lends itself to serene contemplation of nature and nurturing of your creative spirit.
12750 Buchanan Trail East Waynesboro, PA 17268

Send a writing sample with a completed registration form and a non-refundable registration fee.  No electronic submissions, please. Email: mariposapoet611@gmail.com to request a copy of the registration form.

Non-Refundable Registration fee: $75.00; shared accommodations: $275.00 per participant; private accommodations: $375.00 per participant. Payment due in full by September 1, 2012.

Mail writing sample, registration form, and registration fee to:
2012 Mariposa Poetry Retreat
635 Marcia Lane, Rockville, MD 20851
P: 301.881.8012; Email: mariposapoet611@gmail.com 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Voices of Haiti: A Post-Quake Odyssey

FREE EVENT: Join poet-musician Kevin Simmonds at the Corcoran this Wednesday and Thursday (July 25 and 26 at 8:30 pm) for special performances of Voices of Haiti: A Post-Quake Odyssey. 

These performances are in association with the International World AIDS Conference. Voices of Haiti is a multimedia work featuring the poetry of Kwame Dawes, soprano Valetta Brinson and the photography of Andre Lamberston. FREE but reservations are required. Register at https://getinvolved.corcoran.org/voices_of_haiti_july_25 and/or https://getinvolved.corcoran.org/voices_of_haiti_july_26 

From our friends at Mothertongue - a chance to write this summer!

Join us for Mothertongue's Summer Womens* Writing Workshop!

Wednesday, August 1st @ 7:00pm - 8:30pm
DC Center 
1318 U Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009

Need some support to get your creative juices flowing?
Want the company of other women* writers?
This is the place for you!
Workshop will be facilitated by: Eryca Kasse

Please bring your pen and paper and get ready to be inspired :)

RSVP Today! Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/323016957791470/?notif_t=plan_user_joined

**mothertongue defines "woman" broadly as anyone for whom "woman" is or has been a primary part of their identity and experience.
***mothertongue is trans- and gender-variant inclusive. If you were raised a girl, identify as a woman, or both, you are a part of us.

Facilitator: Eryca Kasse is a longtime Mothertongue volunteer. She is a writer and poet of the written and spoken word. Eryca has been published in Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry. Eryca is a social worker at a community mental health center where she incorporates Writing Therapy into her practice. She lives in Washington, DC with her two cats Nina and Olive.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Poem of the Week: Carolee Sherwood

Carolee Sherwood         
They build boxes upon boxes, great honeycomb cities. Rumbling
trucks deliver parcels of pollen. Pretzel vendors leave good luck
trails of salt along the sidewalks. Busy taxi cab tongues lick up
passengers talking into their phones. Crowds cross lines
of the grid, commanded by the flashing white man
on every corner. Rows of veterans lean along the walls,
missing wings they lost in the war. The boys have dyed
their yellow stripes black, applied eyeliner, given into the sting.
Designer ads cover everything up, fashion queens three stories tall.
Landlords ask for money. Messengers ride bikes. Poets drape words
around their waists like skirts, hover above subway grates
for the wind to blow them up. Cleaning crews work
unnoticed. Anxious wives buzz in their cells tending the world
wide web, drinking nectar to forget. The hives used to reach the sky.
Children hear stories about how they all fell down.
The elderly are the only ones who believe in Beekeepers
now. Churches fill for funerals and little else. Everyone mourns.
In their beds, lovers cling to the final moments of fatal matings.
Girls with hips and tambourines keep the beat.
Honey drips between their legs.

-Carolee Sherwood      

Used by permission.     
Carolee Sherwood is a painter, mixed media artist and poet living in downtown Albany, New York. She has roots in Northern Maine, where she was born and raised, and in West Virginia where she received a degree in journalism. Her training in storytelling and careful observation came at the knee of her writer grandfather, a truck driver with a quick wit. She is raising three bold sons, ages 12, 10 and 8.  
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!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.    

Split This Rock

Monday, July 16, 2012

Call for Poems: The Day After

Deadline: August 2, 2012

On The Issues Magazine, the online magazine of progressive, feminist thinking, seeks poems on the enduring issues and challenges that women and progressives will face, no matter who wins the fall election. Four sub-concerns that define the topic a bit further are:
·       health care and reproductive rights;
·       economic security and parity;
·       peace, safety and security (including international issues, violence against women, civil liberties, LGBTQ rights and concerns, and prisons); and
·       the presentation of women in popular culture.

We welcome poems in all styles, approaching these issues in all sorts of ways.

Please send up to 3 poems (no more than 2 pages each) to Poetry Co-Editor Sarah Browning at ontheissuespoetry@yahoo.com by midnight, August 2, 2012. Please do not send to Sarah’s Split This Rock email.

 ·       Send the poems in the body of a single email. Attachments will not be opened. If your poem is chosen for publication we will request a copy in Word in order to insure that the formatting is correct.
·       Include a cover note with a 2-3 sentence bio.
·       Previously published in print is acceptable, but not on the web.
·       Simultaneous submissions accepted.
·       We regret that there is no financial compensation.
·       All are invited to submit.

We look forward to seeing your poems!

Sarah Browning
Current Issue: 
Women In Sports issue of On The Issues Magazine; Spring 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Poem of the Week: Lauryn Nesbitt

Lauryn Nesbitt: Congo (Spoken Word)
Lauryn Nesbitt:
Congo (Spoken Word)

For those who have lost their lives during the ongoing genocide in the Congo, as well as the many lives lost in genocides all over the world. Your bloodshed shall and will not be in vain. We will find peace.

As long as you wake up everyday you should have  
no reason to complain, right
i guess if i'm still breathing then i'm not really
Well if that's the case i'll give every other breath
To the 6 million Congolese people who have died  
fourteen out of my fifteen years of days i don't
complain about
Lived in fear their whole life only to die brutally
and unjustly
Because someone was following orders
Being a law abiding citizen
An unjust law is no law at all
The next time i touch my screen i will say
Madsi Pa
Because someone died for this
Not even given a proper burial
Please do understand that a street corner or
pot-holes in the road do not suffice as coffins
Where is the tombstone
6 million beautiful African names all gone with the
wind now
Somewhere a little girl doesn't understand the
meaning of
You're named after your great great great grand-mother
That the last time this name was written it was with an
Now with a signature she has been practicing since
she was seven
Quiet honestly
i don't have to go through triangles or bloody
current to see the redness in mother's eyes because
she cried all night
That monotone pitch her voice is now concealed in
from screaming her child's name
She didn't bother about putting makeup on today
No queen collection can mask her wide-eyed ghost
See, i can close my eyes every night and act like it
doesn't exist
Turn my TV off right before the Yele infomercial
Refuse to watch channel 5 because it's day twenty
and there are sixteen bodies and counting
Or hum to that sad music they play on the Food for
America PSA
i can even wish that i could give the little boy on
that feed the children of Africa a tissue for his nose
Missing the whole purpose of why i should call
them and not my best friend because they're both
asking me to spot them a twenty
When you think about it
Suffering is like god
You may not always see it
you may never see it
but it is real and
it's out there.
-Lauryn Nesbitt    

Used by permission.     
From Lauryn's chapbook, Disturbing the Piece, 2012. 
Lauryn "Poetic Hyst" Nesbitt is a 17 year-old senior in the Literary Media and Communications department at Duke Ellington School for the Arts. She hopes to pursue a career in film production. She has bloomed into a powerful and inspiring slam poet, performing her work at venues such as the Kennedy Center Concert Hall and Millennium Stage, Busboys and Poets, Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York, her high school's graduation ceremony for the class of 2011, and the Atlas Theater. Lauryn is a two year member of the DC Youth Slam Team and she recently placed 2nd in the 2012 Larry Neal Writers' Competition teen category. When she's not pressing pen to paper she's your average teenager juggling homework, friends, and family. 
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!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.    

Split This Rock

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Poem of the Week: Renée Olander

Renee Olander
Photo credit: Helen Jones, 2009 

Rhinos Got No Luck           

Yesterday, a ten-year old newcomer to a zoo
Fought her new mate, broke
Out of her cage, and galumphed
Off zoo grounds, chased by three
Trucks of vets armed
With tranquilizer guns and one rifle--
And what sort of luck was it
That only the kill shot
Between the eyes could calm her?

And there were a pair of rhinos shipped
From Cleveland to China as a gift
Who died on the seventh day of their flatbed
Truck drive in one hundred degrees
Of dehydration. Until the zoo
Can find replacements,
They'll show the stuffed carcasses--
Cheaper than watering rhinos--
And there's profit from the magic
Horns, whose likenesses in wax
Convince from a distance.

And at my local zoo, one of two rhinos
Swallowed a racquetball
Which blocked its intestines,
And it died like dozens do a year--
Or was that the hippos?--
From balls tossed playfully
Into their confines (so maybe
You've even killed one yourself).

I know it sounds crazy,
But why can't I get the dry-mouthed rhinos
On a flatbed in China off my mind?
How they remind me of a little boy
Lost on his bike in the business district
Who asked me once for water
And what was his way home?

-Renée Olander

First appeared in MARGIE:The Journal of American Poetry. The St. Louis Poetry Center: Vol. 2, Fall 2004.  

Used by permission.    
Renée Ellen Olander is author of A Few Spells (Finishing Line Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in Verse and Universe: Poems about Science and Mathematics, HEArt - Human Equity Through Art, Artword Quarterly, Hawai'i Pacific Review: Best of the Decade, 5AM, The Café Review, 13th Moon, Snake~National~Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education National Poetry Month Blog, and others. Olander's interviews, reviews and essays have appeared in publications including The Writer's Chronicle.

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!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.    

Split This Rock

July Sunday Kind Of Love

July Sunday Kind of Love:
A Reading from
Entering the Real World: 
VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo
Entering the Real World 
In celebration of the 
40th Anniversary of the 
Virginia Center 
for the Creative Arts 
Sunday July 15, 2012

Busboys and Poets
2021 14th St. NW
Washington, DC

Hosted by Sarah Browning & Katy Richey
As always, open mic follows!

Karren LaLonde Alenier, Ned Balbo, Holly Bass, Becky Gould Gibson, Kim Roberts, Dan Vera, Michele Wolf, and anthology editors Andrea Carter Brown and Margaret B. Ingraham

Co-Sponsored by Busboys and Poets
Split This Rock

For more information: