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2019 What Is It, Then, Between Us?: Poetry & Democracy

Poetry Coalition logo. A green box with the Poetry Coalition's name, the 2019 theme, and social media platforms in it.

This March, Split This Rock is pleased to present a month-long series of events as a member of the Poetry Coalition. The 2019 theme is "What Is It, Then, Between Us?: Poetry & Democracy." Learn more about this initiative at the Poetry Coalition website.

Split This Rock's contributions to the initiative will highlight poetry's role in social movements. Read below for Split This Rock's programming related to this year's Poetry Coalition theme.

Follow the hashtags #PoetryandDemocracy and #Poetry Coalition for info on other efforts related to this series -- and use them to share your experiences with this year's programming effort!

This initiative is made possible in part by a grant from the Ford Foundation secured by the Academy of American Poets.

Youth Programming

Saturday, March 2, 6-8 pm, George Mason University


Image of Hyper Bole logo. The words Hyper Bole appear over black, white, and blue images of a microphone, concentric circles, and the outline of DC buildings.Image of Rasheed Copeland standing amongst thin palm leaves. He has a neutral expression and the shadow of the leaves appear across his face.

Split This Rock Youth Programs presents Hyper Bole Youth Poetry Slam and Festival 2019, an all-day event at George Mason University on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Young poets from the DC area will participate in a series of individual preliminary slams, workshops, and an open mic. The festival will culminate in the Hyper Bole Finals, 6-8 pm, where one student will be crowned the 2019 Hyper Bole Champion and awarded a $1,000 scholarship! The Featured Poet for Finals is Rasheed Copeland, author of The Book of Silence: Manhood As a Pseudoscience and 2015 Individual World Poetry Slam 2nd Place Poet. Join us for Finals!

Hyper Bole Finals
March 2, 6-8 pm, FREE

George Mason University - Johnson Center, Atrium
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

For questions or more information, please email Split This Rock Youth Programs Fellow Claudia Rojas at claudia@splitthisrock.orgPhoto of Rasheed Copeland by Naji R. Copeland


Saturday, March 23, 8 pm, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theatre, Molly Smith Study

Flyer for Grand Slam Finals which includes a collage of images of youth poets mostly standing at microphones wearing Split This Rock t-shirts.

Split This Rock Youth Programs presents DC Youth Slam Team Grand Slam Finals featuring Mahogany L. Browne on Saturday, March 23 at 8 pm in the Molly Smith Study at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Get ready to make noise as 10 of the DC area's top youth poets compete for a spot on the 2019 DCYST and the opportunity to represent DC at Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival in Nevada this summer! Don't miss this opportunity to hear the next generation of socially engaged poets speak their minds. Get tickets online today! This event is supported in part by Poets & Writers. Photos in collage by Rebekkah Leigh LaBlue.


Writing Workshops

Join us for FREE writing workshops on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 pm in the 6th Floor Conference Room at 1301 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC.

Collage image of Sunu Chandy and Amy Young. Sunu appears in black and white with a bright smile. Amy has a slight smile and wears a brown turtleneck sweater and eye glasses.


The March schedule includes:

March 6 FacilitatorSunu Chandy, Legal Director for the National Women's Law Center and Split This Rock Board Member

March 20 Facilitator: Amy Young, former Poet Laureate of Alexandria, Virginia and contributor to Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Anthology


For more information on these FREE workshops, visit the Writing Workshops web page. Photo of Sunu Chandy by Fid Thompson.


Sunday Kind of Love Reading & Open Mic
Featuring Sheila Black & Emmy Pérez

Collage of Sheila Black and Emmy Perez. Sheila appears in black and white with a slight smile. Emmy appears behind a thin podium mic as if she is about to speak.

Sunday Kind of Love is a monthly reading and open mic series held on the 3rd Sunday of the month from 5-7pm at Busboys and Poets-14th & V in Washington, DC. February's Sunday Kind of Love Featured Poets are: Sheila Black, co-editor of Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability and author of Iron, Ardent, and Emmy Pérez, co-founder of Poets Against Walls and author of With the River on Our Face.

Visit the Sunday Kind of Love web page or the event Facebook page for more information. 

Emmy Pérez photo by Texas A&M Corpus Christi.


Activists & Poets Against Walls: A Brown Bag Presentation by Allyson Duarte & Emmy Pérez

Images of Allyson Duarte & Emmy Pérez appear side by side. Allyson has long slightly wavy brown hair, wears a blue shirt, and has a neutral expression. Emmy has shoulder length brown hair with blue streaks in the front. She wears a tan and beige striped shirt and is behind a thin podium microphone.

Monday, March 18, 12-1:30 pm, FREE
1301 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036

Co-Sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies

In this multimedia brown bag session, independent DACA activist Allyson Duarte and Poets Against Walls co-founder Emmy Pérez will talk about recent activism in the Rio Grande Valley in support of borderland communities. They will share video footage of speech clips and poetry performances to introduce some of the intersectional work they are involved in. Poets Against Walls is a collective of poets with a DIY philosophy that aims to amplify and help document borderland poetry, testimonio, and the spoken word to help counter mainstream depictions of the borderlands. Allyson Duarte's work and advocacy commitments emphasize the need to seek solutions beyond whichever policy measures can achieve through the limited scope of party politics, which is almost always defined by gridlock that is rooted in private interests.

Photo of Emmy Pérez by Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Photo of Allyson Duarte by Evelyn Hockstein.


Poem of the Week Series

Every Friday for the month of March, Split This Rock will publish poems related to the Poetry Coalition theme. Poems for each week will be listed on this page with a link to the full poem in The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

  • "Weed Brownies (Allegory of the Dispensary)" by Rasheed Copeland. Read or listen to the full poem in The Quarry.
  • "Radium Dream" by Sheila Black. Read or listen to the full poem in The Quarry.
  • excerpt from "Cajas/Boxes of Zero Tolerance" by Emmy Pérez. Read or listen to the full poem in The Quarry.
  • excerpt from "Nation Induced Disorder" by Mahogany L. Browne. Read or listen to the full poem in The Quarry.
  • "Ceremonias De La Superviviencia" by Baruch Porras-Hernandez. Read or listen to the full poem in The Quarry.