Friday, December 30, 2016

January Resistance Events - Add Your Voice!

Dear Friend in Struggle,

Poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance in the years ahead. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.

Split This Rock will be active in this poetic resistance and we invite you to add your voice. Or join us as a reader or audience member, experiencing the challenge and comfort that poetry can provide.

We plan two major events in DC in January, as well as an online platform.

First, we're proud to present a special Writers Resist Sunday Kind of Love featuring Annie Kim and Samantha Thornhill! Writers Resist is a national network of writers driven to #WriteOurDemocracy by defending the ideals of a free, just, and compassionate democratic society. Join us on January 15, 2017at 5pm at Busboys and Poets, 14th & V. Details at the Facebook event page.

Then, on Saturday, January 21, 2017, at 7 pm, we plan an open mic Poetic Speak Out to complement the anti-inaugural marches and protests taking place that weekend, including the Festival of Resistance and the Women's March. Stay tuned for location details and information on how to sign up to read a poem at this historic event.

Won't be in the DC area that weekend? We'll also be opening this blog, Blog This Rock, as a virtual open mic for poems of resistance and power. Check back in the new year with details on how to submit. And to see a past virtual open mic, go to Blog This Rock, where we posted poems against gun violence and for embrace.

If you believe this work is essential, that poetry is the language of transformation, power, and vision, Split This Rock needs your help. Please invest. Learn what your donation can do at our website. Gifts from first-time donors and increased gifts from existing donors will be matched by the Cafritz Foundation!

With our fists in the air and poetry on our lips,

Split This Rock

Thursday, December 8, 2016


1. Gathering Together Socially Engaged Poets of All Ages
Photo of audience at a 2016 Split This Rock Poetry Festival reading. A woman with tan skin and wavy gray hair smiles warmly. Her hands are held together in mid clap. Three people behind her are also clapping.
2016 Festival | Photo by Kristin Adair
Through Split This Rock, poets, activists, and dreamers come together in our nation’s capital to connect, share, learn, and gain inspiration to fuel efforts for justice. In addition to Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, we engage hundreds of youth at annual gatherings: Louder Than a Bomb-DMV Teen Poetry Slam Festival, modeled after the nationally acclaimed program in Chicago, and Hyper Bole Slam Festival.

2. Raising the Platform for Poetry of Provocation & Witness
Split This Rock’s website, online poetry database, Poem of the Week series, annual poetry contests, awards, and events champion poetry and poets engaging with the world, bearing witness to the beauty of our diversity, and calling for change. Because of Split This Rock, poets are read, and heard far and wide.

image of demonstration outside Department of Justice office. A woman wearing a coat and scarf with long braids, brown skin, and glasses holds a mic and a clip board in front of 3 people holding protest signs.
Delivering Black Lives Matter poems to Dept of Justice (DOJ)
Photo by Jonathan Tucker
3. Integrating Poetry into Movements for Social Change
From its beginning as an outgrowth of DC Poets Against the War, Split This Rock has mobilized poets to take action, pressing our society to fulfill its promise as a place of welcome, peace, equity, and embrace.

4. Creating Community by Embracing Difference
Whether it’s through poetry readings, open mics, workshops, or slams, Split This Rock brings us together across our many divides, creating safe spaces to share our narratives, name injustices, and embolden us to act collectively.

5. Connecting DC Area Students with Poets as Mentors

Split This Rock places exceptional poets serving as teaching artists in DC metro
area schools to introduce youth to socially engaged poetry and help them hone
their writing and public speaking skills. There’s more demand now than ever.
Imagine a teaching artist in every DC school!

6. Providing Dynamic Resources for Teachers
What if all teachers had access to poetry lesson plans that awaken their students to the relevance of literature in their lives? Split This Rock offers DC-area teachers a curriculum designed to inspire young people to speak their truths.

7. Developing the Next Generation of Poets of Witness
Photo of the 2016 DC Youth Slam Team on stage at the 2016 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival in DC. The four young women are smiling with one hand raised in a fist as they share their team chant. The Youth Programs coordinator, Joseph Green, is in the background with his hand up too.
2016 DC Youth Slam Team at Brave New Voices
Photo by Outlier Imagery

Split This Rock programs are cultivating a generation of young people who love the written word, perform evocatively, and imagine a world free of hatred and bias. Through the DC Youth Slam Team, the Youth Writers’ Guild, the Ushindi Performance Troupe, open mics, slams, writing workshops, and
other ongoing activities, youth learn the social and political context of their lives, turn their struggles and triumphs into powerful art, find a sense of community, and gain confidence through poetry.

8. Making Poetry More Accessible
Accessibility is one of Split This Rock’s core values, so we continually strive to
remove barriers that keep people with disabilities from being full participants
in our programming. With your help, we can offer more events with ASL
interpreters, caption more videos, maintain and improve features on our
website, and more!
Photo of Kathi Wolfe and L. Lamar Wilson. They sit at a table side by side and Lamar is speaking. Kathi has short gray hair, wears a red sweater and glasses She is listening intently. Lamar has on a grey jacket, a light mustache and well trimmed beard. He is wearing his hair in long locks. There is a yellow wall behind them.
2014 Festival Session | Photo by Kristin Adair

9. Breaking the Silence on Hard Issues
Whether it’s through the annual Abortion Rights Poetry Contest, the Eco-Justice Project, or calls for poems in response to violence in our society, Split This Rock aligns itself in solidarity with - and brings poetry into - efforts to build awareness, destroy stigma, demand justice, and make our world a place where we all can thrive.

10. Celebrating a Decade of Elevating Poetry of Conscience
So many anniversaries to mark! Ten years of Sunday Kind of Love Reading
and Open Mic series as of 2016, ten years of awarding stunning poems
through Split This Rock’s Annual Poetry Contest in 2017, and, coming up in
2018, ten years since the very first Split This Rock Poetry Festival! All sustained by people like you! With your support, we are excited to see what’s ahead for the next 10!


Donate Online Today at Split This Rock's website.
DOJ Poem Demonstration | Photo by Jonathan Tucker
Or send a check made out to “Split This Rock” to:
Split This Rock
1301 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036

Your gift is fully tax-deductible. THANK YOU!