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Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2016 features Kick-Off Event with Juan Felipe Herrera

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 10, 2015

CONTACT: Sarah Browning, Executive Director, 202-787-5210,

Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2016 features Kick-Off Event with Juan Felipe Herrera

Split This Rock will present its fifth biennial national festival of poetry of provocation and witness on April 14-17, 2016 in the Farragut Square neighborhood of Washington, DC. Juan Felipe Herrera, 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 the gathering from his position as a national spokesperson for poetry.

Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness (April 14-17, 2016) offers four days of readings, workshops, panel and roundtable discussions, open mics, youth programming, and activism. The event includes opportunities to speak out for justice, build connection and community, and celebrate the many ways poetry can act as an agent for social change. Split This Rock Poetry Festival is DC’s premiere poetry event and the only festival of its kind in the country, highlighting poets working at the intersection of the imagination and social change.

The festival’s featured poets are among the most significant and artistically vibrant writing and performing today: Amal Al-Jubouri, Jennifer Bartlett, Jan Beatty, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Regie Cabico, Dominique Christina, Martha Collins, Nikky Finney, Ross Gay, Aracelis Girmay, Rigoberto González, Linda Hogan, Dawn Lundy Martin, Craig Santos Perez, and Ocean Vuong.

Festival sessions will explore how issue areas converge, examining the ways that poetry can help us understand connections and build alliances necessary to imagine and construct another world. Over 50 group readings, panel and roundtable discussions, and workshops will be offered, covering topics such as the role poetry plays in the Black Lives Matter and labor movements, eco-justice poetry, feminism, LGBT issues, disability, food justice, the Middle East, and allyship.

Registration for the 4-day festival costs only $100 until February 14, then $140. The student rate is $50. A one-day pass is $60. Scholarships, group rates, and volunteer opportunities are available to defray the cost of attendance.

The festival will take place at venues throughout the Farragut Square neighborhood, with featured readings in the Grosvenor Auditorium of the National Geographic headquarters and daytime sessions at the Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives, the Human Rights Campaign, the University of California-Washington Center, and the AFL-CIO. Festival open mics and a Saturday party will be held at Busboys and Poets (14th & V).

For registration and more information, email or visit

Split This Rock 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 support the poets of all ages who write and perform this essential work.

Festival Major Partners include Busboys and Poets and the Institute for Policy Studies. Additional partnership provided by The Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine.

Split This Rock Poetry Festival is also made possible in part by the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz, Compton, CrossCurrents, Reva & David Logan, and Alice Shaver Foundations, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and many generous individuals. Cosponsors include the AFL-CIO, the Beacon Hotel, the Human Rights Campaign, Letras Latinas, the Jimenez-Porter Writers House at the University of Maryland, Poets & Writers, Spectrum of Poetic Fire/Poetry Posse.



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