Top Poems in The Quarry from Danielle Badra, Fairfax Poet Laureate
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Throughout December, we’re shining a spotlight on poems that lit us up in 2022! We hope all the poems we share this month blossom into an infinite resource of creative stimulation, activation, inspiration, and nourishment for you. If you read and loved, shared, or taught poems from The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database this year, please consider making an increased or first-time donation today to support this home for social justice poetry. Donate $25 or more, become a monthly donor for $10 or more, or fundraise for Split This Rock on Facebook or Instagram by 11:59 pm ET on December 31, and you could be 1 of 5 supporters to receive a book bundle from the staff and board! Learn more about the books in each bundle, who is eligible for the giveaway, how to set up Facebook and Instagram fundraisers, and more at this web page.
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Danielle Badra's Top 12 Poems in The Quarry
Today, we're excited to share long-time Split This Rock community member Danielle Badra's Top 12 Poems from The Quarry. Danielle was recently appointed as Fairfax County Virginia's Poet Laureate. Join us in offering our hearty congratulations to Danielle, and in celebrating these wonderful 12 poems and poets!
- "Ode to Mennel Ibtissam singing “Hallelujah” on The Voice (France), translated in Arabic" by George Abraham
- "DREAMers Mark Themselves" by Maricielo Ampudia Gutiérrez
- "Apokaluptein" by Hayan Charara
- "Again" by Daria-Ann Martineau
- “i grew up with god in my mouth” by Mejdulene B. Shomali
- "The Where in My Belly" by Kimberly Blaeser
- “Daisy Cutter” by Camille T. Dungy
- “Skybridge Rendering Above Minneapolis & the West Bank” by Tarik Dobbs
- "There Is a Lake Here" by Clint Smith
- “Anti-Ode for the Transportation Security Administration” by torrin a. greathouse
- "A Small Needful Fact" by Ross Gay
- "Equinox" by Tamiko Beyer
NOTE FROM THE CURATOR
To pick a batch of my favorite poems from Split This Rock’s The Quarry seemed easy enough. I would read through pages of poems and pick those that called the loudest or the queerest to me. Sifting through over a decade of strong poems, it turns out, is much more difficult than I anticipated. It was, at the same time, invigorating and inspiring. From the mesmerizing artistry and multidirectional meaning making seen in “Ode to Mennel Ibtissam singing Hallelujah on The Voice (France), translated in Arabic” by George Abraham or “Skybridge Rendering Above Minneapolis & The West Bank” by Tarik Dobbs whose hymns for a free Palestine demand to be read over and over again. To the much needed interrogation of police brutality and profiling that rings through “Anti-Ode for the Transportation Security Administration” by torrin a. greathouse and “A Small Needful Fact” by Ross Gay whose calls for social justice require recitation. To the resonating demands for environmental justice as heard in “The Where in My Belly” by Kimberly Blaeser and “Daisy Cutter” by Camille T. Dungy and “There is a Lake Here” by Clint Smith and “Equinox” by Tamiko Beyer whose reflections on our failing climate are cause for prayer.
My hope is for whoever comes across this list of poems as we near the end of another year, both grateful and with our guards up, that you take the time to read each poem closely. To let the gift of language heal whatever can be healed and empower what remains. To meditate on the movement of each poem on the page, to consider the weight of each word, to focus on the soul and how it stirs when a good poem walks into the room. Consider having a conversation with one of these poems. What do you want to say to the poem? Write your own poem beside the poetry of another and see what your poems have to say to each other. Are they out to coffee or at a protest? Are they at a lake or perhaps an apocalypse? Are they whispering or singing to each other? Allow yourself the space to engage with the artistry of your favorite poem of this past year.
Split This Rock has been an incredible resource on my poetic journey, and I’m very thankful for the access to socially engaged poetry this organization provides. The confines of academia and the poetic canon it prescribes can be isolating and exclusionary and the space that Split This Rock provides is the antithesis of the academic canon – it is a place you can learn and love poetry from every voice, not just the voices with the biggest benefactors.
Danielle Badra (she/they) is a queer Arab-American from Michigan who currently resides in Virginia. She received her MFA in Poetry from George Mason University (GMU). 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 fall 2021. She is the ArtsFairfax appointed 2022-2024 Fairfax Poet Laureate and is engaged in a community service project titled “Poetry in the Parks.” Her poems have appeared in Mizna, Cincinnati Review, Duende, The Greensboro Review, Split This Rock, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. Dialogue with Dead (Finishing Line Press, 2015) is her first chapbook, a collection of contrapuntal poems in dialogue with her deceased sister. Learn more about Danielle at their website and keep up with her work as Fairfax Poet Laureate at ArtsFairfax's website.
Image Description: Danielle Badra, a queer Arab-American woman with dark short hair and multiple tattoos, in a black and white button up tank top with a red coral necklace and silver and black dangly earrings, stands in front of plush greenery.