Split This Rock's Director of Youth Programs tells PBS Newshour how young writers are leading a poetry comeback:
“Young people are taking the opportunity outside class to continue pursuing and reading and engaging poetry, whether it be in print or through YouTube videos,” Green said. “They want it and then they’re replicating it; they’re starting to write their own poems.”
Green and Split This Rock work directly with students and teachers in Washington, D.C. classrooms through after-school writing clubs and professional development programs — all aimed, in part, at promoting contemporary poetry curriculum in the classroom. Social justice is also a central mission for Split This Rock, focused on poetry as a tool for change. Green said it is easy for young people to engage with and share the art of poetry in today’s digital age, making it an ideal medium of self expression.
Read the full article on the PBS Newshour website.
The Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog picked up a story on Poetry International covering the "Translation as Activism" panel featured at Split This Rock 2018 Festival:
"Last week, Poetry International published a talk that Francisco Aragón presented at the most recent Split This Rock Poetry Festival, on translation as activism. In the post, "Translation As Activism," Aragón discusses his work as a translator of the great Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío, and the way he developed a translation/imitation of Darío's poem "De invierno," the title Aragón translates as "Winter Hours." After publishing his version of the poem in 2011, Aragón discovered new biographical information about Darío which changed his approach to the translation."
Festival attendee and panel organizer Katherine E. Young writes an opinion peice to the Washington Post regarding a recent article that mentions Split This Rock:
"Rather than concentrating on a page-poetry-vs.-Instagram-poetry spat within the poetry community, I wish the article had spent more time on the larger questions about the role poetry can and should play in our culture and had paid more attention to the work being done by poets — including most of those quoted in the article, who were in the District specifically to participate in Split This Rock — who gathered here last month to address those questions."
2018 Festival Panel No More Masks was featured on the Ms. Magazine blog:
"In 1971, Goucher College professor Florence Howe and her student Ellen Bass gave themselves a prompt: Could they, solely from memory, recite poems by women about women’s lives? They knew plenty of poems by men who wrote about women, but actually hearing a woman’s perspective in her own voice was less common. As they called up few examples, they wondered why they hadn’t retained many of these poems. Were there books they could turn to? If not, how could they go about putting women’s voices forward?"
"About two dozen people took to the stage, one a time, each adding no more than 12 words to a single piece titled 'Louder than a Gun.' Forming what Browning later described as a 'tapestry of voices,' it told a story of heartbreak, despair, and a struggle to come to terms with a national tragedy stuck on repeat.
'Our hearts are less fragile than the nothingness that pulls the trigger,' read one line. Another: 'What is it worth? Building graveyards on the backs of our children?'”
From Deborah A Miranda reflections in a blog post: “In the evening, our tired minds and bodies were cleansed by the voices and worlds of Elizabeth Acevedo, Sherwin Bitsui, Kwame Dawes, Solmaz Sharif. My responses to these readers was, oddly enough, not something I could put into words at the time, or even now. Their voices, their images and intentions, the doorways they opened up inside of me, are reverberating, but I do not yet have the language to talk/write about them, just yet. The readings left me stunned, shot through with happiness. Just to know that this kind of work exists. Just to know that . . . is a joy.” Read the full post, Split This Rock! 2018: Three Days in a Poet's (almost) Utopia on Deborah’s blog Bad NDNS.
On the Kenyon Review Podcast, Featured Poet Javier Zamora spoke with Kenyon English faculty member Andrew Grace about immigration, advocating for undocumented poets, and what Salvadoran poets Americans should be reading.
Abby Zimet of Common Dreams also covered the Public Action: “...About two dozen members of Split the Rock climbed a makeshift stage to each add a line to a piece titled “Louder than a Gun.” Their ensuing "tapestry of voices" included the lines, “My country ’tis a quivering child’s breath, held in a closet....Our hearts are less fragile than the nothingness that pulls the trigger...What is it worth? Building graveyards on the backs of our children?” and, from longtime activist Joanne Rocky, “They will beat their guns into poems, and sing out love.”
The Festival led the Washington City Paper’s Critic’s Pick for the weekend, with Alexa Mills encouraging DC residents to check out the Festival: “If you’re looking for some clarity in the chaos, turn to the poets.” Features a great photo of D.C. poet and 2018 Festival feature Elizabeth Acevedo!