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Poem of the Week Series

Split This Rock's Poem of the Week series publishes a contemporary poem online each week. Each poem is also emailed to Split This Rock's entire network via our weekly e-newsletter.

All poems Split This Rock has published in the series since 2009, along with contest winners and video from past festivals and youth programs, are available in The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database, searchable by social justice theme, author’s identity, state, and geographic region. Like all of Split This Rock’s programs, Poem of the Week and The Quarry are designed to bring poetry fully to the center of public life.

A preview of this week's poem is in the Poem of the Week box on the right. Click on "Keep reading" to see the full poem. Click the arrows to see previews of the past four weekly poems.

We encourage you to use and share these poems widely, and ask only that you credit the author and name Split This Rock’s Poem of the Week Series and/or The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database as the source. Please also include a direct link to the database for any reproduction of poems.


Submissions for Poem of the Week are CLOSED.

The 2020 Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest will re-open in the late summer of 2019. More information is on the contest web page.

The Kind of Poems We Seek

We're looking for socially engaged poems of provocation and witness, poems on topics such as (but not limited to) identity, community, civic engagement, politics, economics, government, war, leadership, education, activism, history, Americana, and cultural icons. We read for representation of communities building a socially just world, celebrating their way of being, or struggling to survive and surmount oppression.

We are especially interested in themes currently under-represented in The Quarry, poems on themes such as (but not limited to) gentrification, resisting anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, Indigenous life and resistance, disability issues, working class issues, poverty and inequality, international perspectives, transgender and genderqueer themes.

As we read, we tune in for poems that surge with power and craft, challenge all status quo, poems that tell burning or beautiful truths. We appreciate poems that wake us up, make us want to quote them, and keep our collective attention on the edge of its seat.

How We Choose

We are accepting poems by solicitation only, for the time being. We hope to open submissions in the future. Please sign up for Split This Rock’s e-newsletter or follow Split This Rock on social media for updates.

To Submit

When we are open for submissions, we generally accept up to 3 poems at Split This Rock's Submittable page with the following guidelines:

  • We accept only poems that have not yet been published online. If your poem is selected and it is posted on social media, we ask that you take it down prior to publishing.
  • Please do not include any identifying information with the poems themselves. Do check to make sure your name is not in the name of the document file.
  • Simultaneous submissions are OK, but please notify us immediately if the poem is accepted elsewhere.
  • In terms of structure, poems with fairly short lines without complex formatting are the most compatible with our publishing and email platforms. Though there is no specific line limit, poems of no more than 30 lines tend to work best here.
  • We read anonymously. To help us do so, please make sure your name and other identifying information do not appear either in or on your poetry submission (check the file name, too). We hide your Submittable bio and other identifying information (address, email, photo, etc.) on our end during the reading process.
  • We usually have a set of preliminary readers who vote on all the poems. Out of those results, the Poem of the Week Editors choose poems by arrival at consensus.
  • Please note: If we choose to include your poem as part of the series, we'll need a bit more information from you and about you so that we can properly categorize your poem within the online social justice poetry database, The Quarry. A form link will be sent to you if your poem is used.
  • Mailed and Emailed Submissions: Except for special circumstances we are aware of in advance, we do not accept mailed submissions. If you have a circumstance that makes it difficult for you to utilize Submittable, please contact us for instructions on how to email your submission. It is important that we know about your situation before receiving your mailed or emailed entry. Please allow sufficient time for your submission to be received.


An accessible Word version of the submission form will be made available to anyone who is not able to access Submittable. We are also happy to supply further assistance by request. Contact us at or 202.787.5210. In case your submission needs to be mailed or emailed, please be in touch and send in your materials with sufficient time for your submission to be received and processed.