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Program & Schedule - Saturday, March 28, 2020

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

Early bird rates available until Friday, January 31. Online registration ends February 28.
On-site registration available during the festival (see schedule for specific times).

Click the links below to view each day's program. All daytime sessions are held at George Washington University's Cloyd Heck Marvin Center. All venues are wheelchair accessible.

Need the schedule in large print or formatted for a screen reader? Email us at and we will send you a copy.

NOTE: Schedule below is subject to slight changes.


Saturday, March 28

8:30 am-2 pm

On-site Festival Registration

George Washington University Cloyd Heck Marvin Center
800 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20052 [Map]

10 am-3:30 pm

Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2020 Social Change Book Fair

George Washington University Cloyd Heck Marvin Center
Continental Ballroom

800 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20052 [Map]

Join us for the Social Change Book Fair, featuring the critically important work of socially engaged poets, writers, organizations, progressive presses, literary magazines, and independent newspapers, many of whom are also Festival participants. More details and a list of exhibitors will be available in the program book.

This event is free and open to the public. 

9-10:30 am

An Intersectional Feminist Resistance Reading (Reading)
Presenters: Rosebud Ben-Oni; Wendy Chin-Tanner; Shira Dentz; Allison Joseph; Venus Thrash
Marvin Center 308

Making Sanctuary: Serving Persecuted Writers & Fostering Community (Panel)
Presenters: Bewketu Seyoum; Khalil Zeigler; Lucia LoTempio
Marvin Center 405

Muddled Myths and Fractured Fairytales for the New Millennium (Reading)
Presenters: Jai Dulani; Quincy Scott Jones; Bushra Rehman; Yolanda Wisher
Marvin Center 403

Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era (Panel)
Presenters: Jacqueline Johnson; Almas Khan; Sequoia Maner; darlene anita scott; Lisa Norris
Marvin Center 307

Shape-shifting Bodies: Somatic Rituals towards Art for Gender Justice (Workshop)
Presenters: Christina Olivares; Zohra Saed; Purvi Shah; Sun Yung Shin
Marvin Center 302

Towards a Transformative Practice: Organizing Liberatory Poetry Spaces (Workshop)
Presenters: Isabella Borgeson; Jade Cho; Gabriel Cortez; Natasha Huey
Marvin Center 301

Unraveling Whiteness: Using Poetry to Challenge White Supremacy (Panel)
Presenters: Tara Campbell; Teri Ellen Cross Davis; Holly Karapetkova; Edgar Gabriel Silex; Katherine Young
Marvin Center 310

11 am-12:30 pm

Black Ladies Brunch Collective (BLBC) Presents: We Are Our Own Gods (Workshop)
Presenters: Saida Agostini; Teri Ellen Cross Davis; Katy Richey
Marvin Center 301

Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought! (Reading)
Presenters: Kimberly Blaeser; Millissa Kingbird; Kateri Menominee; Maria Elena Scott (Tormey); Angie Trudell Vasquez
Marvin Center 308

La Cultura Cura: Social Justice Praxis in the Classroom (Panel)
Presenters: Leticia Hernández-Linares; Raina J. Leon; Samuel Miranda; Amalia Ortiz
Marvin Center 302

Labels and Labor: Black Writers Exploring the Political Possible (Panel)
Presenters: Adrienne Christian; Nicole Higgins; Kateema Lee; Stewart Shaw; Carmin Wong
Marvin Center 403

Poetry in the Age of Surveillance (Panel)
Presenters: Andrea Abi-Karam; Aria Aber; Marwa Helal; Philip Metres; Elisabet Velasquez
Marvin Center 405

Sorrow's Not Enough: Queering Climate Crisis (Reading)
Presenters: Oliver Baez Bendorf; Tamiko Beyer; Elizabeth Bradfield; Donika Kelly; Brian Teare
Marvin Center 310

The Elements of Spoken Word: Earth, Fire, Wind, Water (Reading)
Presenters: Lady Brion; Slangston Hughes; Kenneth Something
Marvin Center 402

Poet’s Forum (Panel)
Presented in Partnership with the Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine
Panelists to be announced!
Marvin Center 307

12:30-1:30 pm

Lunch Break

1:30-3 pm

Afro-Latinidad Isn't a Trend: Disrupting One-Dimensional Understandings of Afro-Latinx Poetics (Reading)
Presenters: Ariana Brown; Alejandro Heredia; Jon Jon Palacios Moore; Alán Peláez López; Dora Santana
Marvin Center 302

Inherited Traumas and Contemporary Animosities: Healing the Ruptures (Panel)
Presenters: Athena Kashyap; Sham-e-Ali Nayeem; Seema Reza; Nina Sudhakar; Seema Yasmin
Marvin Center 403

Pop Culture vs. Poetry of Witness (Panel)
Presenters: Tracy Dimond; celeste doaks; Steven Leyva; Anthony Moll
Marvin Center 310

Practicing Resilience: the Poetics of Diaspora and Resistance (Panel)
Presenters: Sarah A. Chavez; Sáshily Kling; Miguel M. Morales; leilani portillo; Hali Sofala-Jones
Marvin Center 402

TAKEN: Adoptees Speak Out (Panel)
Presenters: Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello; Ansley Moon; Tiana Nobile; Leah Silvieus
Marvin Center 405

Looking Back to Look Forward (Workshop)
Presenters: Becca Carson
Marvin Center 301

Disease and Disability: Using Poetry to Reveal and Empower (Reading)
Presenters: Nancy Naomi Carlson; Marlena Chertock; Ellen Aronofsky Cole; Oliver de la Paz; Jennifer Franklin; Alexis Smithers
Marvin Center 308

Youth Open Mic featuring Youth Poet Laureates Azura Tyabji, Maren Wright-Kerr, and Jackson Neal
The Mic is Open to Young People 20 & Under!
Marvin Center 307

3:30-5 pm

A Queer Feast -  Fruit, Documents, Possibilities (Reading)
Presenters: Chen Chen; Jan-Henry Gray; Devyn Lorelai Mañibo; Sam Herschel Wein
Marvin Center 310

Ancestors and Inheritances: Furious Flower Celebrates Black Poetic Legacy (Reading)
Presenters: Lauren K. Alleyne; Tara Betts; DaMaris Hill; Jacqueline Jones LaMon; L. Lamar Wilson
Marvin Center 307

De-colonize stanza/Writing in the Apocalypse: QTBIPOC embodiment & feels! (Panel)
Presenters: Kay Ulanday Barrett; Angela Peñaredondo; Natalie Sharp; Mejdulene B. Shomali
Marvin Center 308

Our Bodies as Land: Destruction and Renewal (Reading)
Presenters: Venus Davis; Lynne Schmidt; Rosebud Ben-Oni; Seema Reza
Marvin Center 402

Reclaiming Immigrant Narratives (Workshop)
Presenters: Desiree C. Bailey; Daria-Ann Martineau
Marvin Center 302

Salvi Poets Write Back: on Motherland, Diaspora, & Home (Panel)
Presenters: Claudia Castro Luna; Leticia Hernández-Linares; Alexandra Lytton Regalado
Marvin Center 403

Spit Your Truth! Spoken Word as Radical Hope in Education (Panel)
Presenters: Anthony Blacksher; Karla Cordero; Joe Limer; Angélica María Yañez
Marvin Center 405

Unlearning Our Cages: How to Write into Freedom (Youth Writing Workshop)
Presenters: Amina Fatima; Gelilla Mekonnen; Marjan Naderi; Alexa Patrick; Jordan Shaibani; Takier George
Marvin Center 301

5-7 pm  

Dinner Break

7-9:30 pm  

Featured Poet Reading and Book Signing

Cameron Awkward-Rich, Sandra Cisneros, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Kyle Dargan, 2019 Split This Rock Poetry Contest Winner Shabnam Piryaei

National Press Club
529 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20045 [Map]

ASL interpretation provided. Free and open to the public.

Reading followed by a book signing. Books will be available for sale by Split This Rock partner Busboys and Poets Books.