2023 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.
From March through May 2023, the Poetry Coalition will explore the theme “and so much lost you’d think / beauty had left a lesson: Poetry & Grief” in a series of virtual and in-person programs that will reach more than 300,000 individuals nationwide. The line “and so much lost you’d think / beauty had left a lesson” is from Ed Roberson's poem "once the magnolia has blossomed."
Poetry Coalition members aim to demonstrate how poetry can invite and inspire conversations in their communities about grief—an expansive and rich topic that has become imbued with deeper meaning over the last few years. All organizations and others interested are invited to create programs on this theme in 2023 and to share their efforts using the hashtags #PoetryAndGrief and #PoetryCoalition.
Read below for Split This Rock's programming related to this year's Poetry Coalition theme. This page will be updated as additional offerings are announced and released.
- Poetry & Grief Roundtable
- Poetry Writing Capsules on Grief
- Poetry & Grief Playlists
- Poem of the Week
Recording coming soon!
A Virtual Roundtable on Poetry & Grief
Featuring Ching-In Chen, Destiny Hemphill, Faylita Hicks, and Moncho Alvarado
On Thursday, May 25, 6:30-8 pm EDT, Split This Rock live-streamed a roundtable discussion with poets Ching-In Chen, Faylita Hicks, Moncho Alvarado, and Destiny Hemphill as the moderator. They discussed poetry and grief, including poetry’s potential to hold and heed our grief as we work towards social change. Once the video has been prepared, a captioned recording with the ASL interpreter on screen will be available via YouTube.
Accessibility: ASL interpretation, CART service, visual descriptions, content notices, and a document formatted for screen readers with materials will be available.
About The Featured Poets
Image Description of Photo of Ching-In Chen: A black and white photo of Ching-In Chen, a genderqueer Asian American standing against a brick wall.
Ching-In Chen is the author of The Heart's Traffic (Arktoi/Red Hen Press, 2009); recombinant (Kelsey Street Press, 2017; winner of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry); how to make black paper sing (speCt! Books, 2019); and Kundiman for Kin: Information Retrieval for Monsters (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs, 2020, Leslie Scalapino Finalist). Chen is also the co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities (South End Press, 2011; AK Press 2016) and Here Is a Pen: An Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets (Achiote Press, 2009). They have received fellowships from Kundiman, Lambda Literary, The Watering Hole, Can Serrat, Imagining America, and the Intercultural Leadership Institute and are a part of Macondo and Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation writing communities. They are currently a core member of the Massage Parlor Outreach Project and a Kelsey Street Press collective member. Please visit their website. Photo of Ching-In by Cassie Mira.
Image Description of Photo of Destiny Hemphill: Destiny Hemphill, a brown-skinned Black woman with a short cropped afro, is seated outside. She is looking directly into the camera with her head tilted to the left. She is wearing a black body suit and burnt orange skirt. Green foliage surrounds her.
Destiny Hemphill (she/her) is a chronically ill ritual worker and poet, living on the unceded territory of the Eno-Occaneechi band of the Saponi Nation (Durham, NC). A recipient of fellowships from Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, Callaloo, Tin House, and Kenyon Review's Writers Workshop, she is the author of the poetry chapbook Oracle: a Cosmology (Honeysuckle Press, 2018) and the collection motherworld: a devotional for the alter-life (Action Books, 2023), a two time finalist for the National Poetry Series Prize. Her work has also been featured in Poetry Magazine, Southern Cultures, and the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day series. She is currently serving as the 2022-2023 Kenan Visiting Writer in Poetry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Photo of Destiny by Love Önwa Photography.
Image Description of Photo of Faylita Hicks: A person with short, wavy brown hair smiles into the camera. They are wearing a zebra-striped top, a red scarf, and a beaded red necklace. In the background is a painting of sharecroppers and a small ancestral altar with a burning candle.
Faylita Hicks (she/they) is the author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry, the poetry collection A Map of My Want (Haymarket Books, 2024), and the debut memoir about their carceral experiences A Body of Wild Light (Haymarket Books, 2025). Hicks is also the recipient of fellowships, grants, and residencies from Art for Justice, Black Mountain Institute, the Tony-Award winning Broadway Advocacy Coalition, Civil Rights Corps, Lambda Literary, Texas After Violence Project, Tin House, and the Right of Return USA. A voting member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs, Hicks’ poetry, essays, and digital art have been featured in American Poetry Review, Art At A Time Like This’ “8X5 Exhibit, Ecotone, Kenyon Review, Longreads, Poetry Magazine, Slate, The Slowdown Podcast, Yale Review, amongst others.
Image Description of Photo of Moncho Alvarado: Moncho Alvarado, a queer trans woman of color with bold blond and dark brown hair, is smiling widely. She wears a multi-colored shawl with a colored pencil and a dangling earring in their right ear as well as two circular nose piercings. Her hair is worn swept over her left shoulder. She is outside with branches in the background.
Moncho Alvarado aka @moncholapoet is a sister in residence in air, a Cihuayollotl trans Xicanx poet, translator, visual artist, and educator. She is the author of Greyhound Americans (Saturnalia Books 2022), which was the winner of the 2020 Saturnalia Book Prize, selected by Diane Seuss. She has been published in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Foglifter Journal, Poets.org, and other publications. She has fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary, The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, Troika House, and others. Alvarado is a two-time Pushcart Prize Nominee and has been featured at Brooklyn Museum, Adrian Brinkerhoff Poetry Foundation, Times Square Arts, and PEN America, to name a few. Currently, she is working on a trans historical novel in verse and lives in Queens with her partner, cuddly dog, and meowling cat. Learn more about Moncho at her website and follow her on Instagram @moncholapoet. Photo of Moncho by Oscar Ochoa.
We're thrilled to announce a new, free virtual offering: Poetry Writing Capsules! Split This Rock's Poetry Writing Capsules are small containers for holding big ideas, inspiration, and guidance from poets writing through a variety of topics and forms. Each video in the series is a self-paced exploration that offers writing prompts, poems, and more. We encourage you to share these poetry writing capsules with your community, classroom, writing groups, and others.
In support of this year's Poetry Coalition theme, Split This Rock invited poets Danielle Badra and Malik Thompson to share their expertise, wisdom, and inspiration around writing through and about grief. Captions, on-screen ASL interpretation, visual descriptions, content notices, and a link to a document formatted for screen readers with materials are available for each video. Learn more about each capsule below!
Poetry & Grief: Reading & Responding to Artifacts of Loss with Danielle Badra
This poetry writing capsule investigates the ways in which poetry allows us to grieve by opening up a pathway or channel to communicate with our lost ones. Danielle Badra explores examples of dialogues with the dead and shares writing prompts that use written or spoken artifacts to reconnect with those who have passed. Given the themes and realities this poetry writing capsule addresses, we extend care towards you as you choose if, when, and how to engage with it. Tune in to Danielle's Poetry Writing Capsule at Split This Rock's YouTube Channel.
Danielle Badra (she/they) is a queer Arab-American poet who was raised in Michigan and currently resides in Virginia. Her poems have appeared in Mizna, Poetry Daily, Guesthouse, Cincinnati Review, Duende, The Greensboro Review, Rabbit Catastrophe Press, Split This Rock's The Quarry, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. Dialogue with the Dead (Finishing Line Press, 2015) is her first chapbook, a collection of contrapuntal poems in dialogue with her deceased sister. Her manuscript, Like We Still Speak, was selected by Fady Joudah and Hayan Charara as the winner of the 2021 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize and published through the University of Arkansas Press in Fall 2021. Photo of Danielle Badra in YouTube thumbnail graphic by Holly Mason Badra.
Image Description of YouTube Graphic: On the left, Split This Rock's red logo appears with bold white text beneath that reads: "[Split This Rock] presents Poetry & Grief: Reading & Responding to Artifacts of Loss with Danielle Badra. A Poetry Writing Capsule." On the right is a photo of Danielle Badra, a tan woman with dark, short brown hair and dangly silver earrings standing in front of a red brick wall. Danielle wears a red coral necklace and a green button up t-shirt with black diamonds on it. There is a tattoo peeking out of the bottom of one of the shirt sleeves. The graphic has a red boarder and a large red play button appears in the center over the image.
Poetry & Grief: Severance and Rupture in Relationships with Malik Thompson
Given that severance and rupture in intimate relationships are a widespread experience, how can poetry serve as a beacon and balm? Malik Thompson reads and discusses poems by Audre Lorde and Donika Kelly. He also shares a writing prompt to help write toward those we are no longer in relationship with, honor the past, acknowledge any bitter/sweetness in the present, and move us toward closure. Given the themes and realities this poetry writing capsule addresses, we extend care towards you as you choose if, when, and how to engage with it. Watch Malik's Poetry Writing Capsule at Split This Rock's YouTube Channel.
Malik Thompson (he/him) is a Black queer man from Washington, DC. He works as a manager for Black, Asian, and queer-owned Loyalty Bookstores in Petworth, DC, and served for two years as co-chair of OutWrite DC, an annual LGBTQ+ literary festival. Malik has received support from Lambda Literary, Obsidian Foundation, and the DC Commision on the Arts and Humanities, among other organizations, and his poems are featured in Split This Rock’s The Quarry, MQR Mixtape, and Voicemail Poems, among other publications. Photo of Malik Thompson in YouTube thumbnail graphic by Beth Stover.
Image Description of YouTube Graphic: On the left, Split This Rock's red logo appears with bold white text beneath that reads: "[Split This Rock] presents Poetry & Grief: Severance and Rupture in Relationships with Malik Thompson. A Poetry Writing Capsule." On the right is a photo of Malik Thompson, a brown-skinned Black person with glasses, sitting in an outdoor area with lush-leaved trees behind him. He is wearing a grey pashmina scarf, a yellow beanie, and a darker yellow corduroy jacket. Malik is looking into the camera with a faint smile and in front of him, on a table, is an open binder with text on the pages. The graphic has a red boarder and a large red play button appears in the center over the image.
Throughout April, Split This Rock shared poetry playlists in support of the Poetry Coalition's themed programming on Poetry & Grief. Each week on Wednesdays, we shared a playlist with 10 poems from The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database that speak to a particular topic and inhabit poetry’s potential to hold and heed our grief as we work towards social change.
Image Description: Over a black rectangle with a red shadow and rounded corners, bold white text reads “Grief and Justice: Black Lives” with red rewind, play, and fast forward icons below. Behind the rectangle, there are thin concentric geometric lines which peek out at the top and bottom. In the lower right corner, italicized outlined text reads "A Poetry Playlist."
We begin by centering Black voices and every Black life taken by a long history of state-sanctioned violence in the U.S. These poems speak of state-sanctioned violence by police, prison, and jail officers and the broader criminal legal system’s complicity in upholding white supremacy. These poems honor the lives of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, so many others whose lives have been brutally taken, and the families and communities who grieve.
Given the many harms and injustices these pieces address, we extend care towards you as you choose if, when, and how to engage with each of the poems in this list.
Grief & Justice: Black Lives
- "A Small Needful Fact" by Ross Gay
- "Heaven?" by Lauren K. Alleyne
- "not an elegy for Mike Brown" by Danez Smith
- "I keep lighting candles on my stoop and watching the wind snuff them out" by Amy M. Alvarez
- "I Don’t Know Any Longer Why the Flags Are At Half-Staff" by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
- "I Was Wrong Running Doesn’t Save Us" by Yesenia Montilla
- "Black Matters" by Keith Wilson
- "ma’am, i’m sorry to tell you, your son is d-" by Darius Simpson
- "saturday afternoon" by Kenneth Carroll III
- "Elegy" by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Image Description: Over a black rectangle with a red shadow and rounded corners, bold white text reads “Grief and Liberation: LGBTQ Lives” with red rewind, play, and fast forward icons below. Behind the rectangle, there are thin concentric geometric lines which peek out at the top and bottom. In the lower right corner, italicized outlined text reads "A Poetry Playlist."
The lived experiences and identities within the LGBTQ community, in all its vastness, are as immemorial as human existence. Still, the ability to survive and thrive continues to be threatened by an onslaught of efforts to weaponize and diminish LGBTQ lives by enshrining hateful rhetoric into law. The poems in this list celebrate how expansive gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations are and have always been. Centering the voices of LGBTQ poets, these poems magnify and extoll trans and queer joy, dignity, and community.
Given the themes and realities these pieces address, we extend care towards you as you choose if, when, and how to engage with each of the poems in this list.
Grief & Liberation: LGBTQ Lives
- "the day i died, my therapist asked how my week was going & i told him i am reading stone butch blues" by Lip Manegio
- "t for t" by Justice Ameer
- "يقبرني to bury me. you take your turn first" by Noor Ibn Najam
- "i grew up with god in my mouth" by Mejdulene B. Shomali
- "Anti-Ode for the Transportation Security Administration" by torrin a. greathouse
- "Before going to the Barbershop" by Gabriel Ramirez
- "After all references to transgender Americans are scrubbed from government websites, I only love you more, dear, you will not disappear" by heidi andrea restrepo rhodes
- "Every Day Is A Trans Day" by H. Melt
- "The Republic of Tenderness" by Nathan Spoon
"Self-Portrait Of The Black Boi Becoming The Monster He Always Desired To Be" by Malik Thompson
Image Description: Over a black rectangle with a red shadow and rounded corners, bold white text reads “Grief and Climate: Ecological Loss” with red rewind, play, and fast forward icons below. Behind the rectangle, there are thin concentric geometric lines which peek out at the top and bottom. In the lower right corner, italicized outlined text reads "A Poetry Playlist."
Ecological grief, or climate grief, is a collective mourning, apprehension, and yearning in response to the realities of environmental loss and the climate crisis. Human impacts on the planet affect all of us, and communities suffering from the consequences of environmental racism, other underserved communities, as well as those who have experienced loss and trauma from extreme weather are disproportionately harmed. The poems in this list honor the planetary environment in which we exist, interrogate the many causes of environmental destruction, and invoke hope and resilience. These poems speak to our predecessors, those of us now here, and those to come.
Given the themes and realities these pieces address, we extend care towards you as you choose if, when, and how to engage with each of the poems in this list.
Grief and Climate: Ecological Loss
- "Invocation" by Everett Hoagland
- "History" by Juan Carlos Galeano
- "Song for the Turtles in the Gulf" by Linda Hogan
- "Typhoon Poem" by Patrick Rosal
- "Radium Dream" by Sheila Black
- "Un templo que no está en el templo / A temple not in the temple" by Homero Aridjis
- "The Day After American Samoa Is Under Water" by Terisa Siagatonu
- "29 Men" by Heather Davis
- "Spring" by Kim Marshall
- "Makers" by Pamela Alexander
Image Description: Over a black rectangle with a red shadow and rounded corners, bold white text reads “Grief and Erasure: Amplified Histories ” with red rewind, play, and fast forward icons below. Behind the rectangle, there are thin concentric geometric lines which peek out at the top and bottom. In the lower right corner, italicized outlined text reads "A Poetry Playlist."
Historical erasure dictates that past events, narratives, and lived experiences be suppressed and eroded. The daily and ongoing censorship of teachers, students, and school curricula is a project of such erasure. Students from historically oppressed communities are prevented from experiencing their backgrounds reflected in the materials they are taught, and all students are deprived of the truth. Effacing history also hinders an understanding of the throughlines between events of the past and the systemic injustices, movement building, and solidarity work of the present. Centering the voices of poets whose backgrounds span various communities, the poems in this list elevate and amplify many lived histories. Given the themes and realities these pieces address, we extend care towards you as you choose if, when, and how to engage with each of the poems in this list.
Grief and Erasure: Amplified Histories
- "Poem on Disappearance" by Kimberly Blaeser
- "believe me" by leilani portillo
- "the ghosts of the dead sea rewrite the history of drowning" by George Abraham
- "Onomástico" by Jonathan Mendoza
- "Kelly Recalls 1963" by Reuben Jackson
- "Yuri" by Tiana Nobile
- "Ways to Count the Dead" by Persis M. Karim
- "Photo Albums" by Fatimah Asghar
- "Cactus Flower" by Amir Rabiyah
- "ARS POLITICA: HOW TO MAKE ART" by Laurie Ann Guerrero
We encourage you to amplify the poets' work by sharing these poems widely, and ask only that you credit the author and name Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database as the source. Please also include a direct link to the database for any reproduction of poems.
Image Description of the Poem of the Week Logo: Split This Rock's red logo is above bold black text, which reads "Poem of the Week." Three red dots are centered below.
On Fridays in March, Split This Rock's Poem of the Week Series published poems on grief. Poems were released by email to Poem of the Week subscribers 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 brief form. If the form is not accessible to you, please contact us at email@example.com.
The five poems are available as audio and text in The Quarry:
- "Provocations 1" by mónica teresa ortiz
- "American Lục Bát For the End of The World [At Long Last, At Least We Have Our Language?] or The Final Sonnet" by Joshua Nguyen
- "Graveyard Picnic" by Ina Cariño
- "A Conversation With Siri About Death" by Karla Cordero
- "The World’s Loneliest Whale Sings the Loudest Song" by Noor Hindi