2016 Split This Rock Poetry Festival
Every two years poets, activists, and dreamers gather in our nation’s capital for four days of readings, workshops, discussions, youth voices & activism. Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2016 will take place April 14-17, 2016.
We're thrilled to share that Juan Felipe Herrera, newly appointed 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 new position as a national spokesperson for poetry. To learn more about Juan Felipe Herrera, visit his website.
2016 FEATURED POET LINE UP
We're still lining up all of the poets for the 2016 festival. Below is a list of the brilliant poets we've confirmed thus far.
Jan Beatty’s book, The Switching/Yard, was named by Library Journal as one of ...30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry. The Huffington Post called her one of ten “advanced women poets for required reading.” Other books include Red Sugar (2008, Finalist, Paterson Prize), Boneshaker (2002), and Mad River (1994 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize), published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her limited edition chapbooks include Ravage, published by Lefty Blondie Press in 2012, and Ravenous, winner of the 1995 State Street Prize. Beatty hosts and produces Prosody, a public radio show on NPR affiliate WESA-FM featuring national writers. She worked as a welfare caseworker, in maximum security prisons, and as a waitress for fifteen years. Awards include publication in Best American Poetry 2013, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, two PCA fellowships, and the $15,000 Creative Achievement Award from the Heinz Foundation. Beatty has read her work widely, at venues such as the Geraldine R. Dodge Festival and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. She directs the creative writing program at Carlow University and the Madwomen in the Attic Workshops, where she teaches in the MFA program. Learn more at Jan Beatty’s website.
Reginald Dwayne Betts
Reginald Dwayne Betts is a writer and poet. Four Way Books will publish his latest collection of poems, Bastards of the Reagan Era. His first collection of poems, Shahid Reads His Own Palm, won the Beatrice Hawley Award. Betts’ memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, was the recipient of the 2010 NAACP Image Award for non-fiction. His writing has also led to a Soros Justice Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, a Ruth Lily Fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize. In addition to his writing, Mr. Betts serves as the national spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice and was appointed to the Coordinating Council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by President Barack Obama. He is currently a student at Yale Law School.
Regie Cabico won the 1993 Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and took top prizes in the 1993, 1994, and 1997 National Poetry Slams. He has received three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships for Poetry and Performance Art and received the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award presented by Poets & Writers. He co-edited Poetry Nation: A North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry (Vehicule Press, 1998) and his work appears in Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, and Spoken Word Revolution, among other anthologies. He has appeared on two seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam and his plays have been produced at the Humana Theater Festival, Joe's Pub, The Public Theater, Dixon Place, Theater Offensive, and the Kennedy Center Play Lab. He is former artist-in-residence for NYU's Asian/Pacific/American Institute and presently works as the Artistic Director of Sol & Soul in Washington, DC. He curates and hosts Sparkle at Busboys & Poets. In addition to founding Capturing Fire International Queer Spoken Word Slam, he is co-founder of Split This Rock, as well as La-Ti-Do, a weekly spoken word/musical theatre cabaret series, with DonMike Mendoza.
Dominique Christina. Mother. Teacher. Writer. TEDX Speaker. Licensed educator. Unapologetically large. Dominique entered the world of slam (competitive) poetry in 2011 and won the National Poetry Slam Competition that year. In 2012, Dominique won the Women of the World Poetry Slam Championship. In 2014 she won the Women of the World Poetry Slam Championship again. She is presently the only person to win that honor twice. She performed her tribute poem for Emmett Till in Washington D.C. for an inaugural event celebrating the anniversary of the March on Washington for Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin's family. Her work was featured on TV ONE's broadcasted show Verses and Flow. Her first full length book of poetry The Bones, The Breaking, The Balm was published by Penmanship Books in NY. Her book This is Woman's Work is set for publication by Sounds True Publishing October 2015. Her work can be found in various anthologies and literary journals including Heart and Soul Magazine, The Dead Animal Handbook Anthology, Tandem, The Independent, Hysteria, and others. She is presently working on a Young Adult novel for Random House/Knopf. Learn more at Dominique Christina’s website.
Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff’s Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Southern Letters and Literature at the University of South Carolina, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets. Finney’s fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry. Learn more at Nikky Finney’s website.
Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which, Bringing the Shovel Down, and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. He is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens, in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, River. He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin', in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. Ross teaches at Indiana University. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute. Learn more at Ross Gay’s website.
Rigoberto González is the author four books of poetry, most recently Unpeopled Eden, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His ten books of prose include two bilingual children’s books, the three young adult novels in the Mariposa Club series, the novel Crossing Vines, the story collection Men Without Bliss, and three books of nonfiction, including Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He also edited Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing and Alurista’s new and selected volume Xicano Duende: A Select Anthology. The recipient of Guggenheim, NEA and USA Rolón fellowships, a NYFA grant in poetry, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, The Poetry Center Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award, he is contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine, on the executive board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle, and is professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. Learn more at Rigoberto González’s website.
Linda Hogan, a Chickasaw novelist, essayist, and environmentalist, was born in Denver, Colorado. She earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and an MA in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Hogan is the author of the poetry collections Calling Myself Home (1978); Daughters, I Love You (1981); Eclipse (1983); Seeing Through the Sun (1985), which won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; Savings (1988), The Book of Medicines, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist (1993); and Rounding the Human Corners (2008). Intimately connected to her political and spiritual concerns, Hogan’s poetry deals with issues such as the environment and eco-feminism, the relocation of Native Americans, and historical narratives, including oral histories. Hogan has authored 3 essay collections and 4 novels. Active as an educator and speaker, Hogan taught at the University of Colorado and at the Indigenous Education Institute. She has been a speaker at the United Nations Forum and was a plenary speaker at the Environmental Literature Conference in Turkey in 2009. Hogan’s awards include a Lannan Literary Award, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Spirit of the West Literary Achievement Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. Learn more at Linda Hogan’s website.
Craig Santos Perez
Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru (Chamorro) from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). He is the co-founder of Ala Press, co-star of the poetry album Undercurrent (2011), and author of three collections of poetry, most recently from unincorporated territory [guma’] (2014), which received the American Book Award. His writing explores themes of indigenous identity, militarism, decolonization, food sovereignty, ecological imperialism, migration, and citizenship. He is an Associate Professor in the English Department, and affiliate faculty with the Center for Pacific Islands Studies and the Indigenous Politics Program at the University of Hawaiʻi, Manoa, where he teaches Pacific literature and creative writing.
Ocean Vuong is the author of Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). A 2014 Ruth Lilly fellow, he has received honors from Poets House, The Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and a 2014 Pushcart Prize. His poems appear in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, Poetry, Tri-Quarterly, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the 2012 Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in New York City.
To read about how we select featured poets for our festivals, click here.
More information to come!