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Announcing the 2017 Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism Recipient: Christopher Soto (aka Loma)

For further information:
Sarah Browning, Executive Director
(202) 787-5210,

Announcing the 2017 Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism
Recipient: Christopher Soto (aka Loma)

Christopher Soto (aka Loma) and three award finalists to be recognized at a gala ceremony on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 6pm at the Arts Club of Washington.

Split This Rock, the DC-based national non-profit dedicated to poetry of provocation and witness, is pleased to announce Christopher Soto (aka Loma) as the 2017 recipient of the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism for his work advocating for undocumented writers and queer homeless youth, as well as his support for queer poets of color. Made possible through the generosity of the CrossCurrents Foundation, the award recognizes and honors a poet or poetry collective doing innovative and transformative work at the intersection of poetry and social change. Soto will receive $3,000 and his work will be shared throughout Split This Rock’s national network.

Judged this year by Holly Bass, Dawn Lundy Martin, and 2015 Freedom Plow Recipient Mark Nowak, three finalists were selected for the award as well: Francisco Aragón for supporting and promoting Latinx poetry and poets; Andrea Assaf for telling stories of the Arab-American experience and of US service members and Iraqis in the Iraq war; and JP Howard aka Juliet P. Howard for building community among queer poets of color.

The 2017 Freedom Plow Award gala ceremony and reading, cosponsored by the Arts Club of Washington and Busboys and Poets, will be held in honor of Soto and the award finalists, on Friday, April 21, 6-9 pm, at the Arts Club of Washington, located at 2017 I Street, NW in Washington, DC. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $10 for students, and can be purchased at Light refreshments will be served and the event will include an ASL interpreter.

ABOUT THE 2017 RECIPIENT: Christopher Soto aka Loma (originally from Los Angeles) is a poet based in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of Sad Girl Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016) and the editor of Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books, 2018). In 2016, Poets & Writers honored Soto with the “Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award.” He frequently writes book reviews for the Lambda Literary Foundation. His poems, reviews, interviews, and articles can be found at The Nation, The Guardian, The Advocate, Los Angeles Review of Books, American Poetry Review, Tin House, and more and his work has been translated into Spanish and Portuguese. He has been invited to speak at universities campuses across the country. He cofounded the Undocupoets Campaign and worked with Amazon Literary Partnerships to establish grants for undocumented writers. He received his MFA in poetry from NYU and is currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript about police violence and mass incarceration.

Split This Rock cultivates, teaches, and celebrates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social and personal change. It calls poets to the center of public life and fosters a national network of socially engaged poets. Its programs integrate poetry into public life and supports poets of all ages who write and perform this essential work. The Freedom Plow Award, like Split This Rock’s signature biennial poetry festival, is an essential, enduring part of its mission to promote the growing field of art and social activism on a national level.

The CrossCurrents Foundation promotes social, environmental, and economic justice, focusing where it believes private funding can make a strategic difference to public education campaigns about critical issues. Effective and socially relevant public art is part of its overall effort to increase civic participation.

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