AWP recently featured Sarah Browning's piece about Split This Rock's 10th year anniversary:
"When a group of poet-activists based in Washington, DC, began dreaming of the first Split This Rock Poetry Festival more than ten years ago now, one of our mentors in the work—the dean of DC’s literary scene, E. Ethelbert Miller—told us, 'Pay attention to what you are doing. Keep notes and records. You are making history.'"
Daniel Baldwin of World Footprints covers DC's thriving poetry scene. The article spotlights Split This Rock's various programming, including the Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, Sunday Kind of Love, the 2019 Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest, and more. Read the full article here.
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities has added sweeping language to already approved grants requiring the artists and arts organizations avoid producing work that could be considered lewd, vulgar or political.
In a rare step made after millions of dollars in public funding was approved last month, the local arts commision said it would terminate any grant that supports work the commission deemed “lewd, lascivious, vulgar, overtly political, or excessively violent, constitutes sexual harassment, or is, in any other way, illegal.”
Art leaders expressed shock at the request, which several described as an attack on their artistic freedom.
“My first reaction was just astonishment,” said Sarah Browning, co-founder and executive director of Split This Rock, which was awarded $70,000 in two grants from the commission. Browning herself won a $3,500 grant for poetry. “It’s far outside the reach of anything that I’ve every seen,” Browning said. “To put it at risk is a huge problem for small organizations like ours. That said, we can’t possibly sign this.”
John Feffer, director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, interviewed Sarah Browning about her most recent poetry book, Killing Summer, and Split This Rock's work. Listen to the full interview on Patreon.com.
Hooligan Magazine recently reviewed Ghost Fishing: An Eco Justice Poetry Anthology, edited by Split This Rock co-founder Melissa Tuckey:
"This anthology took off in its ability to make both eco-justice and poetry feel accessible and relatable. At the forefront of this is the well sought out inclusion of diverse cultural and identity representations in the poets and their topics. Compiling a truly representational book of ecologically and socially aware poetry from a subject historically shadowed by cliché dead white men musing about flowers is no small feat. In doing so, editor Melissa Tuckey helped correct the cliché and successfully acknowledged readers who have felt their narratives on this topic were broadly unheard and unaccounted for up until this point."
Read the full review on Hooligan Magazine's website.
Ron Charles of the Washington Post writes about the National Endowement for the Arts' recent report, which announces that the share of adults reading poetry grew by 76 percent between 2012 and 2017.
Split This Rock's Executive Director and founder, Sarah Browning is quoted: “At long last, establishment American poetry is finally looking and sounding like America: people of color, queer people, people with disabilities and activist poets are telling about their own lives and struggles and joys. And because of the Internet and changes in publishing, they’re also taking control of the means of distribution.”
Read the full article on The Washington Post website.
The Minnesota Review's blog includes a review of “When I Kiss You, A Casket Opens” by beyza ozer, which was featured as part of Split This Rock's Poem of the Week series:
“When I Kiss You, A Casket Opens” begins its first line in the middle of a response that has no discernible ending— “this is not terrorism/this is toxic masculinity”— it is a reaction, a refusal, a riot against the mass media that twists its angles for the right endorsement and against the culture that twists itself so as not to recognize our culture’s own many failings.
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."