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Split This Rock

Final Stage | March 12,2016

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Split This Rock
 cultivates, teaches, and celebrates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change. It calls poets to a greater role in public life and fosters a national network of socially engaged poets. Building the audience for poetry of provocation and witness from our home in the nation’s capital, we celebrate poetic diversity and the transformative power of the imagination.

Split This Rock explores and celebrates the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for change: reaching across differences, considering personal and social responsibility, asserting the centrality of the right to free speech, bearing witness to the diversity and complexity of human experience through language, imagining a better world.

Split This Rock is dedicated to revitalizing poetry as a living, breathing art form with profound relevance in our daily lives and struggles. Our programs integrate poetry of provocation and witness into movements for social justice and support the poets of all ages who write and perform this vital work.

Gather with us in our nation’s capital for Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness — four days of readings, workshops, discussions, youth voices & activism. The festival will take place April 14-17, 2016.

It is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken. – Audre Lorde


Collage of 4 images from Split This Rock's 2014 festival - a man sharing a poem with cupped outstretched hands at the Vietnamese poetry reading, a woman outside at a microphone looking up hopefully at the sky at the public action, a woman in a trench coat standing outside at a microphone at the public action, a young man at microphone wearing a Split This Rock t-shirt at a featured poet reading. Text says 2016 Split This rock Poetry Festival and other event details.You are invited to our nation’s capital for a festival celebrating poetry of witness and resistance. More and more, we understand the ways that issue areas converge: earth justice requires economic and racial justice; LGBT rights and gender equality intertwine; freedom is indivisible. Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2016 offers opportunities to explore these intersections, examining the ways that poetry can help us understand connections and build alliances necessary to imagine and construct another world.

The festival will feature some of the most visionary and powerful voices of our time, representing the dynamic diversity of our world: Amal Al-Jubouri, Jennifer Bartlett, Jan Beatty, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Regie Cabico, Dominique Christina, Martha Collins, Nikky Finney, Ross Gay, Aracelis Girmay, Rigoberto González, Linda Hogan, Dawn Lundy Martin, Craig Santos Perez, and Ocean Vuong. Visit the Featured Poets page to read more about our fabulous line up for 2016.

We’re thrilled to also share that Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, will kick off the festival with a special event at the Library of Congress on April 13, and will be part of this gathering of socially engaged poets from his position as a national spokesperson for poetry. Read more about Juan Felipe Herrera’s appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress’ website.

Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2016: Registration is now open! Click here.


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Philadelphia Printworks is a t-shirt company dedicated to activism and inclusion.

Saturday | March 12, 2016 | 1:30pm-10pm




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