2022 Poetry Coalition Programming
Split This Rock is proud to be a member of The Poetry Coalition, a national alliance of nearly 30 independent poetry organizations dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. Poetry Coalition programming is made possible in part by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation which were secured by the Academy of American Poets.
The Poetry Coalition will devote March through July 2022 to exploring the theme “'The future lives in our bodies': Poetry & Disability Justice” in a series of programs in eleven cities that will reach an anticipated audience of more than 300,000 individuals nationwide. The line “The future lives in our bodies” is from the poem “Femme Futures” by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.
Poetry Coalition members aim to demonstrate how poetry can inspire questions in their communities about disability justice and spark increased engagement with this important theme. Member organizations are committed to offering programming that is accessible and that includes disabled, neurodivergent, and d/Deaf poets and those of diverse racial, ethnic, and gender identities, backgrounds, and communities.
All organizations and others interested are invited to create programs on this theme in 2022 and share their efforts using the hashtags #DisabilityJustice and #PoetryCoalition. For some additional resources to assist with programming, particularly in creating accessible programming, visit the webpage for this year's theme.
Read below for Split This Rock's programming related to this year's Poetry Coalition theme.
"The future lives in our bodies": A Disability Justice & Poetry Virtual Roundtable
Featuring Meg Day, Naomi Ortiz, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, and moderator Camisha Jones
Streamed Live Tuesday, June 7, 2022, 6:30-8 pm ET
Presented by Split This Rock, "The future lives in our bodies:" A Virtual Disability Justice & Poetry Roundtable" was streamed live on Tuesday, June 7, 6:30-8 pm ET. The featured poets were Naomi Ortiz, Meg Day, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Camisha Jones served as moderator. The discussion focused on what's most at stake, what's most cherished, and ideas on the way forward. More about the featured poets below.
Tune in to the recorded roundtable discussion on Split This Rock's YouTube channel!
Resources mentioned in the discussion:
- Sins Invalid Disability Justice principles
- 2009 Disability Activists Collective Retreat notes
- Open Letter to Event Planners
- Eugenics quote
Accessibility: ASL, CART & verbal description of speakers and images were provided. We aimed to verbally identify who was speaking throughout the event. The recording has been captioned.
ABOUT THE POETS
Deaf, genderqueer poet Meg Day is the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street, 2014), winner of the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award. A recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship and an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, Day’s recent work can be found in Best American Poetry 2020 & The New York Times. Visit Meg's website: www.megday.com.
Naomi Ortiz is a Poet, Writer, Facilitator, and Visual Artist whose intersectional work focuses on self-care for activists, disability justice, climate action, and relationship with place. Ortiz is the author of Sustaining Spirit: Self-Care for Social Justice (Reclamation Press), a non-fiction book exploring self-care tools and strategies for diverse communities. Ortiz is a Zoeglossia Poetry Fellow whose poems have been nominated for Best of the Internet, listed on Entropy’s “Best of 2020-2021: Favorite Poems Published Online,” and appear in a variety of publications, anthologies, and performances. Ortiz is a Disabled Mestiz@ living in the Arizona U.S./Mexico borderlands. Visit Naomi's website: www.NaomiOrtiz.com
Photo by Rachel Marie Photography.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled nonbinary femme writer, poet, disability and transformative justice movement worker, and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The Lambda Award winning author of Tonguebreaker, Bridge of Flowers, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, Bodymap, and Love Cake and Consensual Genocide. With Ejeris Dixon, she is the co-editor of Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement, and with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, she co-edited The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. Since 2009, she has been a lead artist with the disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid. Raised in Worcester, MA, she currently lives in South Seattle. Visit Leah's website: brownstargirl.org.
Photo by Syrus Marcus Ware.
Camisha L. Jones is the author of Flare (Finishing Line Press, 2017), a chapbook that focuses largely on her experiences of hearing loss and chronic pain. Camisha’s poems are published at The New York Times, Poets.org, Button Poetry, The Deaf Poets Society, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Typo, The Quarry, and elsewhere. She is Franklin & Marshall College’s 2017 Lapine Poetry Fellow, one of The Loft Literary Center’s 2017 Spoken Word Immersion Fellows, and a Fellow of The Watering Hole. She competed at the 2013 National Poetry Slam on behalf of Slam Richmond. Camisha is Managing Director at Split This Rock and has close to 30 years experience organizing programs, gatherings, and people at non-profits and institutions of higher education. Find her on Facebook as Poet Camisha Jones and on Twitter and Instagram as 1Camisha.
Photo by Brandon Woods.
"The future lives in our bodies": A Poetry Collection at The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database
We are excited to share a special curated collection of top poems by poets within the disability community from The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database, These are poems that speak about community and care, honor humanity’s beautifully diverse spectrum of ability and being, expose the harm of ableism, and present urgent demands for cultural transformation. They are poems readers have turned to most. Featured poets include George Abraham, Sheila Black, Ching-In Chen, Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner, Meg Day, Shira Erhlichman, Amanda Gorman, torrin a. greathouse, Tara Hardy, Camisha Jones, Jasminne Mendez, Emily Michael, Noor Ibn Najam, Naomi Ortiz, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Amir Rabiyah, Nathan Spoon, Margo Tamez, Malik Thompson, and Kathi Wolfe.
Read the full collection of poems at Split This Rock’s website. You’ll also notice these poems highlighted on the front page of Split This Rock’s website until Poem of the Week returns.
We encourage you to use and share these poems widely, and ask only that you credit the author and name "The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database at Split This Rock" as the source. Please also include a direct link to the database for any reproduction of poems.
Poem of the Week Returns July 1
The wait for the return of Poem of the Week ends on Friday, July 1! To get the series re-started, Split This Rock will publish poems and poets in support of the 2022 Poetry Coalition theme. We are thrilled that this year’s focus on disability justice offers the opportunity to amplify the work of disabled, d/Deaf, chronically ill, mad, and neurodivergent poets! Poems will be sent by email to subscribers of the Poem of the Week Series and published in The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database. You can subscribe to Split This Rock’s email list and Poem of the Week by completing this short form. If the form is not accessible to you, please contact us at email@example.com.
Image Description of Heading Graphic: Over a black rectangular background, bold vertically centered text reads "The future lives in our bodies: Poetry & Disability Justice." The first half of the text, which is excerpted from the poem "Femme Futures" by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, is green. The rest of the text is white. Above the centered text, white and green text reads "The Poetry Coalition 2022 Programming." At the bottom, green text reads "Join us or follow along" and white text reads "#DisabilityJustice" and "#PoetryCoalition."
Image Description of Virtual Roundtable Graphic: On the left, alternating white & green text over a black background reads "The Poetry Coalition 2022 Programming. The future lives in our bodies: A Disability Justice & Poetry Virtual Roundtable Discussion. Featuring Leah Laksmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Naomi Ortiz, Meg Day, and moderator Camisha Jones. Recorded Tuesday, June 7, 2022, 6:30 pm ET via YouTube Live. ASL & captioning provided." On the right, there are collaged photos of Meg, Naomi, Leah & Camisha.
Image Description of Photo of Meg Day: Meg Day poses in profile looking to the camera’s left. Meg has short blonde hair worn swept forward on the top and shaved close on the sides. They have blue eyes and wear a gray denim button down shirt.
Image Description of Photo of Naomi Ortiz: Light-skinned Mestiza with dark hair, silver hoop earrings, burgundy lipstick and a black sweater with a white star sits in their scooter smiling surrounded by golden creosote bushes.
Image Description of Photo of Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha: A 40ish mixed race Sri Lankan, Irish and Romani nonbinary femme with curly brown silver and purple hair, lying on a couch looking at the viewer horizontally. They have rose gold aviator frames, thick eyebrows, red lipstick and sand colored skin, and are looking at the viewer with a kind of tired but hopefully crip wonder. They wear a blue denim vest with a pin that says Neurodivergent Universe above a pink and blue image of a ringed planet, and a black tank top with yellow lettering that read Talk To Plants, Not Cops is barely visible. They have a tattoo of the words "We begin by listening" in magenta cursive script on their left arm.
Image Description of Photo of Camisha Jones: Camisha Jones smiles while sitting outside in a park. There is a body of water to her right and behind her there is grass, trees, and a bridge in the distance. She has brown skin and her hair is styled in two-strand twists. She wears glasses, dangling earrings decorated with jewel-toned stones, a necklace, and a v-neck purple dress.
Image Description of Disability Community Top Poems Collage: Split This Rock’s red logo is aligned to the left with white text in a solid black box under it that says "Disability Community Top Poems." Collaged photos in square frames of the 20 featured poets surround the text. From left to right in the top row are photos of Leah Lakshmi Piepszna-Samarasinha, George Abraham, Amanda Gorman, Kathi Wolfe, and Shira Erhlichman. From left to right in the second row is Margo Tamez, Emily Michael, Tara Hardy, and Meg Day. From left to right in the third row is Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner, Noor Ibn Najam, Jasminne Mendez, Naomi Ortiz, and Camisha Jones. From left to right in the bottom row is Nathan Spoon, Sheila Black, Amir Rabiyah, torrin a. greathouse, Malik Thompson, and Ching-In Chen.
Image Description of Poem of the Week Logo: Bold black text reads "Poem of the Week." Three red dots are centered beneath the text.