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A Quick Bit of Help if You Need It

The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database is a searchable database of over 300 poems by contemporary socially engaged poets, published by Split This Rock since 2009. Like all of Split This Rock’s programs, The Quarry is designed to bring poetry fully to the center of public life. 

If you experience accessibility issues in the course of your search, please call 202-787-5210 or email

Share the Poems Widely but Please Give Credit

We encourage you to use and share these poems widely and ask only that you credit the author and name Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database as the source. Please also include a direct link to the database for any reproduction of poems.

For some ideas on how to use these poems, click here.

There are two main ways to search within the database:

  1. If you are looking for a particular poet, poem or topic, enter the poet’s name, poem title, or keyword into the search box. Then press the magnifying glass button and peruse your results.
  2. You may also search by category: Format, Language, Geography, Poet Identity, and/or Theme.

Things to note about categories:

  • Poets elected to tag themselves by elements of their identity. Some chose not to, and some chose to tag themselves in some categories and not others. Therefore, searching on a theme may result in a more comprehensive list than a search of poet identity.
  • Categories are cumulative and narrowing, so the more you use at once the more you'll narrow your search and the fewer results you'll get.
  • We suggest choosing no more than four or five categories at once, with your best results coming from choosing themes.

About the Links on each poem’s page:

  • The author’s name above the poem is a link. If the poet has more than one poem in the database, clicking on the name will take you to a list of those poems.
  • Below each poem is the author’s bio, a link to other poems by the author (if others exist in the database), and a list of categories by which that poem is tagged. When clicked, these categories will take you to a list of poems that share that tag. So, for example, clicking “Food/Hunger” will bring up a list of poems that address or touch on that theme.

We hope you find inspiration, a poem to help you emphasize a point of protest or advocacy or to teach others about a social justice issue, or just some good company in a world not yet of our making. Should you have any questions, comments, or difficulty while using the database, please email us at


About the Poems

Poems featured in The Quarry were originally published in Split This Rock’s Poem of the Week series or were winners of Split This Rock’s annual poetry contest or the Abortion Rights Poetry Contest, co-sponsored by the Abortion Care Network. Some of the poets have featured at Split This Rock’s biennial poetry festival and/or Sunday Kind of Love reading and open mic series. Others are members of the national Split This Rock community, Split This Rock teaching artists, members of the DC Youth Slam Team, and more. Sign up for the newsletter to receive the Poem of the Week in your inbox each Friday.