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Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2020

Important Update: Split This Rock entered a fallow season on July 1, 2021, and all of our external programming and publishing efforts are on pause until June 30, 2022. We’re excited for time to dig into deeper wells of creativity for: 1) expanding the organizations’ capacity for working towards liberation; 2) defining more concretely what working towards liberation means at Split This Rock; 3) increasing the impact of our poetry, resistance, and community building offerings; and 4) more deeply aligning the organization’s mission with its systems, protocols, and practices. Learn more about the inspiration, projects, and goals for fallow season at the News from Split This Rock webpage. We also invite you to read the fallow season continuation announcement and watch this short video from Split This Rock’s staff for an update on our progress. Visit the fallow season webpage to explore responses to frequently asked questions. We’re eager to continue engaging with you! To be invited to fallow season community gatherings we’ll be hosting, be sure to complete this online form.

Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2020 Response to COVID-19/Coronavirus

Split This Rock staff and board have decided to postpone Poetry Festival 2020. We are assessing what the options are in a context of an uncertain local and national situation. We look forward to continuing the work that went into the Festival in some exciting ways in the future. We will update by web, email, and social media to announce those plans as they are confirmed. 

In the meantime, contact if you have questions. We're still working with hotel partners to support refunds. We're sending solidarity & thanks to you for being in this with us. Please be gentle with our small staff as we respond to the high volume of communication. We are working remotely, and email is currently the most effective way to reach us.


Join Us: March 26-28, 2020 in Washington, DC

Online Registration is OPEN until Friday, February 28, 2020. Register Today.
Early Bird Rates have been extended until Friday, February 7, 2020.

In a high stakes election year, we gather to combat despair and take action in the midst of it, to celebrate communities targeted by violence, to imagine what it means to thrive in the midst of struggle, and to be equipped as artists living at the center of public life and social change. Join us to invoke poetry for liberation and against repressive forces that would have us divided.

Every two years, Split This Rock Poetry Festival calls poets, writers, educators, activists, and scholars together for three days of readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, open mics, and activism -- plus, a book fair! Featuring some of the most socially significant and artistically vibrant poets today, the Festival offers opportunities to speak boldly for justice, build connections and community, and celebrate the many ways poetry can be a practice for social change.

We're thrilled to announce the 2020 Festival Featured Poets: Cameron Awkward-Rich, Emmy Pérez, Eve L. Ewing, Justice Ameer, Kimberly Blaeser, Kyle Dargan, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Mahogany L. Browne, Marilyn Chin, Safia Elhillo, Sandra Cisneros, Trevino L. Brings Plenty, and the Youth Poets Laureate Azura Tyabji, Maren Wright-Kerr, and Jackson Neal!

Collage of images from Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2018 which includes images of people smiling, embracing, and applauding at various festival activities.







We are thrilled to announce that Festival daytime activities will be held in one venue for the first time ever! Workshops, panels, readings, and the book fair will be held at George Washington University's Cloyd Heck Marvin Center, located at 800 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20052. The Marvin Center will also serve as the Festival hub, hosting on-site registration and check-in for pre-registered attendees. For more information, please visit the Festival Venues web page

Festival Partner Hotel 

Make your reservation at the official Festival hotel, Eaton DC, by Tuesday, February 25 to receive special Festival rates. Rooms are available for March 26-28, 2020 at $169 per night. Book your stay at the Eaton online using this dedicated link, or call the hotel's reservations number 1-844-863-6144 and ask for a room in the Split This Rock Poetry Festival block. The Festival’s group code is SPC26A. For support by email, write to Space is limited. Be sure to make your reservation early! For additional information and other lodging options, visit the Where to Stay web page.

Sponsor the Festival

Show your support for socially engaged poetry by becoming a sponsor for the Festival. Showcase your organization or institution on Festival print and promotional materials, while helping to cover costs! A range of giving levels are available. Sponsorship comes with unique perks and is a powerful show of solidarity, bringing poetry to the center of public life where it belongs. Visit Split This Rock's Festival Sponsorship web page or the online form for an overview of options.


Accessibility is a core value for Split This Rock. We strive to provide programs, materials, and communication that allow people within the disability community to engage fully. All the Festival's venues are wheelchair accessible. Large print program books will be available at the Festival by request. Featured Poet readings will include ASL interpreters. We urge all attendees to help keep the Festival spaces fragrance free. Alternate means for registration are available for anyone who finds online forms to be inaccessible. A more detailed description of Festival accessibility can be found at Split This Rock's Festival Accessibility web page. If you have questions, suggestions, or an accommodation request, please contact us at or call 202-787-5210.

Volunteer & Receive Free Festival Registration - Apply by January 31, 2020!

We depend on volunteers to make the Festival a success! People who help for 3 1/2 hours or more receive free registration to the Festival. Visit Submittable to send in your application to volunteer at the Festival. If Submittable is not accessible to you, visit Split This Rock's Festival Volunteer web page for alternate application instructions. Spots are limited -- apply by January 31, 2020!

Registration Subsidy Fund - Apply by February 21, 2020!

Split This Rock is happy to offer subsidy fund awards to cover the cost of registration for people who would not otherwise be able to attend Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2020. Applications may be submitted online via Submittable. If Submittable is not accessible to you, visit Split This Rock's Registration Subsidy Fund web page for instructions to apply by mail or email. For further information, contact us at or 202-787-5210.

Group Rates

For information on special rates for groups of 10 or more, please contact us at 202-787-5210 or

For More Information

If you have questions, contact us at or 202-787-5210.

More to Come -- Stay Tuned!

Subscribe to Split This Rock's newsletter for more news on featured poets, venues, book fair registration, and sponsorship opportunities -- all coming soon! Get excited for Poetry Festival 2020 by visiting Split This Rock's YouTube channel for videos from past festivals.