Skip to Content
Zoom:  A  A  A

Poem of the Week Series

Split This Rock's red logo is above bold black text, which reads

Image Description: Split This Rock’s red logo is at the top. Under it is over black bold text that reads “Poem of the Week” with three red dots centered underneath.

About the Poem of the Week Series

Split This Rock's Poem of the Week series publishes a contemporary poem online each week and sends them via our weekly email newsletter. You can sign up to receive Poem of the Week along with other emails from Split This Rock by completing this brief sign-up form.

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.

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. However, poets retain all rights to their work. If you would like to reprint the poem, please reach out to the poet directly for permissions. If the poem is reprinted, we request that you credit The Quarry.

Accessibility: If the newsletter sign up or online donation forms are not accessible to you, please reach out to info@splitthisrock.org. Poem of the Week emails include text as well as audio or video versions of the poem, alt text and image descriptions, high color contrast, the option to view the email as a web page, and content notices as appropriate.

 

Split This Rock's First Reader Team

Split This Rock works with a team of 4 First Readers: M Kamara, Gabriel Ramirez, Tala Khanmalek, and Chrysanthemum. Learn more about each First Reader below. 

M Kamara

M Kamara stands in front of a beige painted brick wall. They wear a dark brown blazer with a green turtle neck, glasses, small gold earrings, and a septum piercing. They wear their hair in braids pulled back from their face.

M Kamara is a writer of the world, having lived in places like England, Georgia, and Virginia, and being a first-generation Sierra Leonean American. Each place has shaped them into the person they are today, opening their eyes to the multitude of stories that varying communities hold. M is currently an MFA Playwriting student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. As a budding playwright, M is interested in telling black diasporic stories that engage history, afro-surrealism, speculative fiction, and various cultural myths. Photo by Amala Thomas. 

Image Description: M Kamara stands in front of a beige painted brick wall. They wear a dark brown blazer with a green turtle neck, glasses, small gold earrings, and a septum piercing. They wear their hair in braids pulled back from their face.  

Gabriel Ramirez

Gabriel Ramirez sits in front of a window partially covered with dark yellow curtains and smiles. He wears a white beanie hat, a patterned, collared, earth-tone button-up jacket, a septum piercing, and a gold statement ring.

Gabriel Ramirez is a Queer Afro-Latinx writer, performer and educator. A 2023 Gregory Djanikian Scholar in Poetry at Adroit Journal, Gabriel has received fellowships from Palm Beach Poetry Festival, The Conversation Literary Arts Festival, CantoMundo, and Miami Book Fair, and is both a graduate fellow at The Watering Hole and a participant in the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshops. You can find his work in various spaces, including YouTube and in publications like POETRY Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Adroit Journal, The Volta, Split This Rock’s The Quarry, BOMB, Acentos Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly and others, as well as Bettering American Poetry (Bettering Books, 2017), What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (Northwestern University Press, 2019), and The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT (Haymarket Press, 2020). Learn more about Gabriel Ramirez on Instagram @RamirezPoet and at his website. Photo by Bernardo Almonte.

Image DescriptionGabriel Ramirez sits in front of a window partially covered with dark yellow curtains and smiles. He wears a white beanie hat, a patterned, collared, earth-tone button-up jacket, a septum piercing, and a gold statement ring. 

Tala Khanmalek

Tala Khanmalek faces and looks directly into the camera with a cream-colored wall in the background. Tala is wearing a mustard-colored sweater, rosy lipstick, and eyeglasses. Long dark brown curls frame Tala's face and cascade on the right, covering most of Tala's arm and front body.

Tala Khanmalek (all pronouns) is a queer writer, scholar, activist, and educator of Muslim, Iranian, and Georgian descent. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Meridian, Indiana Review, Zoeglossia, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Split This Rock's The Quarry, and elsewhere. Tala is the recipient of a Creative Capital Award with poet heidi andrea restrepo rhodes. She earned a PhD in ethnic studies from UC Berkeley.

Image DescriptionTala Khanmalek faces and looks directly into the camera with a cream-colored wall in the background. Tala is wearing a mustard-colored sweater, rosy lipstick, and eyeglasses. Long dark brown curls frame Tala's face and cascade on the right, covering most of Tala's arm and front body.

 

 

 

Chrysanthemum

The poet Chrysanthemum stands outdoors and faces the camera with a wall and window behind her. She has golden skin and chest-length dark hair, and wears translucent glasses with a red-and-white patterned dress.

Chrysanthemum is a poet, a performance artist, and a public historian. She is the winner of a 2023 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship, a Kundiman Fellow, the recipient of Lambda Literary's 2023 Justin Chin Memorial Scholarship, and a 2019 MacColl Johnson Fellow. She serves as a Co-Director of the Providence Poetry Slam. Chrysanthemum was a finalist in the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam, and her teams were champions of the Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam and the first-ever FEM Slam. Her work is featured in The Nation, Them, Button Poetry, The Offing, among others. Born to Vietnamese parents in Oklahoma City, she was raised around the NW 39th Street gayborhood and Asian American enclave. She now calls Providence, Rhode Island home. Photo by Zach Oren.

Image Description: The poet Chrysanthemum stands outdoors and faces the camera with a wall and window behind her. She has golden skin and chest-length dark hair, and wears translucent glasses with a red-and-white patterned dress.