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Announcing the 10 Most Read Poems of 2021

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Annually, Split This Rock takes time to spotlight and celebrate the poems visited most in The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database. Every list is a way to reflect on what has affirmed, nourished, empowered, enlightened, comforted, and encouraged us as we’ve faced the year’s challenges, losses, and delights. 

We're excited to announce the 10 Most Read Poems in The Quarry that were published in 2021! Check them out below. The top poem was visited more than 1,100 times since it was published in March. This year alone, the poetry database has had over 15,000 visits! We're thrilled to know The Quarry continues to be a meaningful resource for the many communities we serve. 

If we had $1 for every visit to The Quarry this year, we could access a $30,000 gift! The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation has once again granted us a challenge grant. For every donation from a new supporter or increased gift from an existing donor we receive, they will match it -- up to $15,000! If you If you have read, taught, or shared poems from The Quarry this year for protest, awareness building, or personal nourishment, consider making an increased or first-time donation today to support this home for social justice poetry. No donation is too small, and every donation helps.

Visit Split This Rock's online giving portal to make a one-time donation or become a sustaining monthly donor today. Learn more about what we're striving to manifest in Split This Rock's future, as well as how to send a donation by mail, at this webpage.

Access all 10 most read poems by visiting the Top 10 Poems of 2021 special collection within The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database or click the links on the poem titles below.

1. "Equinox" by Tamiko Beyer

"Can we climb // out of this greedy mouth, / disappear, and then return in force? // My stars are tucked in my pocket, / ready for battle."



"god of the faithful night,                teach me to lose my mouth in reverie // to laugh in my predator’s blood                    to let it fill my belly // how it trickles                         through the floorboard of my teeth"


3. "Stone" by Aideed Medina
Content Notice: refers to imperialism & military occupation

"I make my own heaven. I drag it out of the streets, and inhospitable terrains.    I mixed "tabique", brick, mortar with my hands, kneading, // I need, to make my own heaven. // It is clandestine, in broad daylight."


4. "I Was Wrong Running Doesn’t Save Us" by Yesenia Montilla
Content Notice: Black death via anti-Black violence

my mother would braid my hair and wrap the ends in the heaviest / hair ties with the biggest colorful glass balls; they were lethal; as / was my running game —I was a child after all, all full of joy and / fury, all bubble gum and smart mouth, my legs were thunder, my / heart that of a horse.


5. "We" by Deborah A. Miranda
Content Notice: anti-Indigeneity; anti-Blackness; slavery; settler colonial state violence

We whom you beat into plows until we hated the very earth from which we emerged / We whom you buried between the river stones and beneath adobe mud / We whose skeletons, like rebar, held up your mission walls / (built on stolen land by stolen hands)— / We know something about foundations.


6. "Breaking & Entering" by Darrel Alejandro Holnes
Content Notice: anti-Black violence; mention of sexual assault; death

Between the lines lay his body, between / brush strokes / his soul ascends doing those things / portraits rarely capture: / giving life, giving face, serving.


7. "Live; Shine." by Jennifer Falú
Content Notice: mention of suicidal ideation, slur

the miracle / of living / is living / when you’d / rather not.


8. "My Body Holds Stones" by Laura Tohe
Content Notice: refers to grief, settler colonialism, anti-Indigenous violence & genocide

"My body / holds stones / where I stood / in the corner / and looked / into the fractures / between two worlds."


9. "Of Avocados" by Juan J. Morales
Content Notice: death, grief, refers to imperialism

Within the year, two more / of dad’s siblings passed away / and last week we lost him, / a man who planned to return for / one more avocado.


10. "The Republic of Tenderness" by Nathan Spoon

You are living inside the cup of another life. Water / is running slowly. Somewhere a hand is overflowing / with the abundance and celebration denizens dream of.


We know well how a single poem is a perpetual gift to its audience -- nourishing us again each time we receive it. We hope these poems blossom into an infinite resource of creative stimulation, activation, inspiration, and soothing for you. Thank you for reading!


Image Description: Split This Rock’s red logo is centered at the top with white text in a solid black box under it that says "Top Poems of 2021." Collaged photos in square frames of the 10 featured poets surround the text. In the top left corner is a photo of Tamiko Beyer. In the top right corner is I. S. Jones. From left to right in the second row is Nathan Spoon, Deborah A. Miranda, Aideed Medina, and Darrel Alejandro Holnes. From left to right in the bottom row is Yesenia Montilla, Jennifer Falú, Juan J. Morales, and Laura Tohe.

Photo Credits: Tamiko Beyer by Susi Franco. I.S. Jones by Nicholas Nichols. Yesenia Montilla by Ana Leiva. Deborah A. Miranda by Margo Solod. Darrel Alejandro Holnes by Thomas Kuhn. Jennifer Falú by Roger Britton for BRenaissancePhotography. Laura Tohe by J Morgan Edwards. Juan J. Morales by Patti Freeman Schreiber. Nathan Spoon by Allison Steinquest.

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