Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Activist poets Mike Maggio and Heather Davis, Sunday, December 16, 4 pm

Scroll down for poems!

Sunday Kind of Love
A Busboys & Poetry Event
Third Sundays of the Month, 4 pm
Busboys & Poets 14th & V Streets, NW, Washington, DC
U Street/Cardozo on the Green and Yellow Lines
Hosted by Sarah Browning, Coordinator of D.C. Poets Against the War & Regie Cabico, Artistic Director of Sol & Soul Open Mic at each event!

Sunday, December 16, 2007, 4 pm Celebrating the release of new books by DC Poets Against the War Activists Heather Davis & Mike Maggio

Heather Davis’ first book of poems, The Lost Tribe of Us, won the 2007 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award and has just been released. She is on the Coordinating Committee of Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness. Davis is a winner of the 2007 Moving Words Poetry Prize—her poem "Folk Art" appeared on buses in Arlington, VA. She runs a women's writing group in Rosslyn, VA, and serves as a Communications Manager for an international development organization.

Mike Maggio has published fiction, poetry and translations in journals and anthologies in the United States and abroad. His newest book, deMOCKracy (Plain View Press), is a hard-hitting, poetic critique of the Bush administration and its unjustified attack on Iraq and on the democractic institiutions here at home. He is the author of Your Secret Is Safe With Me, an audio collection of poems; Oranges From Palestine (and other poems); and a collection of short fiction, Sifting Through the Madness (Xlibris).


Mother, on the news of your pregnancy,
I thought of one thing:
how the pleasure my lover and I build barehanded
is nothing compared to your architecture,
the house of your body renovated,
full again after seven children;
and I remembered how, before I left home,
every detail of the place looked back at me,
foreign as an ocean floor,
the shadows of pines delicate as coral
against white clapboard,
the foundation settled like a sunken ship,
steeped in unnatural, seeping light.
I wondered how long old timbers can stand
secure in their sockets of earth.

by Heather Davis, from The Lost Tribe of Us

(for Anthony)

Paper cranes
yellow, red
orange origami
child-made cranes
strung like trawls of fish
in Nagasaki and Hiroshima

some fall off and
drift like autumn leaves
shrouding the countryside
like flames weeping
tumbling like autumn leaves

some fall off and
drop like tears
mourning the charred earth
like wailing widows
raining like silver tears

some fall off and
whisk away in the wind
speckling the dazed sun
like ashen memories
howling in the fiery wind

some fall off and
glide gracefully to the ground
thin, delicate
paper cranes
like snowflakes
falling to the ground

some fall off and
spread like cherry blossoms
pinken the brown earth
like gossamer on the horizon
papering the world with cherry blossoms

some fall off and
sail up to the sky
rising on blue wings
like dandelion dreams
floating up to the sky

some fall off and
make it back to America
scattering over the cities
like confetti
like multi-colored messages

paper peace cranes
swarming over America.

by Mike Maggio, from deMOCKracy

NEXT: Sunday, January 20, 2008, 4 pm Second Anniversary of Sunday Kind of Love - Honoring the activist poets and writers who have gone before!
For more info: http://www.busboysandpoets.com/, womenarts2 at aol.com 202-387-POET

Monday, November 26, 2007


Deadline for Panels Extended to Jan. 1; Poetry Contest; December 10 Benefit

Dear Friends,

We’ve extended the deadline for proposals for Split This Rock panel discussions and workshops to January 1, 2008. Please help us spread the word by forwarding the notices, below, to your networks and posting on your websites and blogs.

We’ve had some inquiries about whether we will consider proposals for workshops and performances/readings, as well as panel discussions. The answer is yes, though please note that, unfortunately, we do not have the funds to pay honoraria and that all participants must register for the festival. (Some scholarships will be available – guidelines for application will be posted on the website when we open registration.)

We are most interested in proposals of all kinds that engage festival participants in exploring the major questions and challenges we face as activist poets. Some questions, though by no means all: How do we honor and learn from our predecessors in this work? How can we cross the boundaries that too often divide us, in our organizing, our public programming, and the poetry itself? How does our choice of subject matter influence the form our poetry takes, and the other way around? What successful models of community building might be helpful to other participants? How can we work effectively with social change movements, community groups, social service organizations, schools, libraries, or prisons? These questions can be addressed in workshops and performances as well as in discussions – or in hybrids of these forms. Just give us a sense of how your proposed event will help build community and give participants the opportunity to learn from one another.

Let us know if you have additional questions: info@splitthisrock.org.

Many thanks and all the best,
Sarah Browning
Festival Coordinator

Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness
Washington, DC
March 20-23, 2008


Panel Proposals – Deadline Extended to January 1: Split This Rock invites proposals for panel discussions and workshops on a range of topics at the intersection of poetry and social change. Possibilities are endless. Challenge us. Let’s talk about craft, let’s talk about mentoring young poets, let’s talk about working in prisons, connecting with the activist community, sustaining ourselves in dark times, the role of poetry in wartime. Deadline extended to January 1, 2008. Download the form here: http://splitthisrock.org/documents/Call-for-Proposals.doc

Poetry Contest – January 15 Deadline: The contest benefits Split This Rock Poetry Festival. $1,000 awarded for poems of provocation & witness; Kyle G. Dargan will judge. $500 for 1st, $300 for 2nd, and $200 for 3rd place. 1st place winner will read the winning poem at the festival. The poem will also be published on the festival website at http://www.splitthisrock.org/. All winners receive free festival admission. $20 entry fee benefits the festival. Postmark Deadline: January 15, 2008. Guidelines for entry: http://splitthisrock.org/contests.html.

Benefit Reading by Mark Doty, Kathy Engel, Regie Cabico – December 10: Come to a benefit reading for Split This Rock Poetry Festival with Mark Doty, Regie Cabico, and Kathy Engel on Monday, December 10, 2007 in New York City! The event will begin at 8 pm at the Bowery Poetry Club. Tickets are $25 at the door and we’ll have a silent auction with fabulous items: poetry broadsides, yoga, Poets & Writers subscription, and more! Take care of your holiday shopping and benefit Split This Rock! Download the event flyer here: http://splitthisrock.org/documents/NYBenefit.doc.

Support Split This Rock, the historic gathering of activist poets: The CrossCurrents Foundation made a challenge grant of $10,000 to Split This Rock last month. They’ll match every dollar you give. We’re 25% of the way to meeting the match – double your donation by giving today! Every dollar you give is tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, the Institute for Policy Studies. Just click here: https://secure.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/IPS/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=1120 and be sure to designate "Split This Rock" as the project you'd like to support. Or send a check payable to "IPS/Split This Rock" to: IPS, 1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Many thanks! Your contribution will make a tremendous difference.

Split This Rock Poetry Festival calls poets to a greater role in public life and fosters a national network of activist poets. Building the audience for poetry of provocation and witness from our home in the nation’s capital, we celebrate poetic diversity and the transformative power of the imagination. Featuring readings, workshops, panels, contests, walking tours, film, parties, and activism! See the website for the incredible line-up of poets, including Mark Doty, Sonia Sanchez, Martín Espada, Naomi Shihab Nye, and many more. Split This Rock is cosponsored by DC Poets Against the War, Sol & Soul, Busboys and Poets, and the Institute for Policy Studies. http://www.splitthisrock.org/

Sarah Browning
Split This Rock Poetry Festival
c/o Institute for Policy Studies
1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036


Naomi Shihab Nye to start the week

Our Time

Robert Frost wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,”
in the middle of a searing hot July.

Maybe he needed a chill, the silence
of frozen trees, to keep the air moving

inside his mind. So many readers have considered
his two roads of another poem,

but maybe sweating Mr. Frost invoking frost,
his secret quirky inversion, matters more.

We grew up proud of our country.
Forests of wonderful words to wander through—

freedom, indivisible,
Now my horse is lost in a sheen of lies.

The world is lovely, dark, and deep.
We honor others as they sleep.

As they wake and as they sleep.

--Naomi Shihab Nye, You and Yours, Boa Editions, 2005

Naomi will be featured at Split This Rock. Check it out at: http://www.splitthisrock.org/.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Poetry and Activism: Interview on Weirding Word

Special thanks to Gaea Honeycutt for this interview with me on her blog, Weirding Word: http://weirdingword.typepad.com/weirding_word/2007/11/weirding-word-s.html

Here's an excerpt:

I had some very stern [internal] editors, who especially told me not to risk sentimentality -- that brush with which women's writing is so often tarred. The result, I think, is that we don't risk emotion; we don't risk telling the truth. Which is just as fatal, if not more so, to poetry as sentimentality.


Philip Levine at 80

Dear Poetry Lovers,

If you're in New York City on Thursday, November 28th, 2007, don't miss a special 80th birthday tribute and reading featuring Philip Levine with Kate Daniels, E.L. Doctorow, Edward Hirsch, Galway Kinnell, Yusuf Komunyakaa, Malena Mörling, Sharon Olds, Tom Sleigh, Gerald Stern, Jean Valentine and Charles Wright.

Philip Levine was born in Detroit and is the author of 16 collections of poetry, most recently Breath. His other books include The Simple Truth, which won the Pulitzer Prize; What Work Is, which won the National Book Award; The Names of the Lost; Ashes: Poems New and Old and 7 Years From Somewhere, both of which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the distinguished Poet-in-Residence in the Creative Writing Program at NYU.

Co-sponsored with the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center, the Academy of American Poets, Cave Canem Foundation, Cooper Union, Knopf, Poets House, Society of America and Poets & Writers.

Hope to see you there!

Philip Levine 80th Birthday TributeThursday, November 29th, 7:00pmGreat Hall, Cooper Union, East 7th StreetFree and Open to the Publichttp://www.randomhouse.com/knopf/poetry/levine_tribute/


The new grass rising in the hills,
the cows loitering in the morning chill,
a dozen or more old browns hidden
in the shadows of the cottonwoods
beside the streambed. I go higher
to where the road gives up and there's
only a faint path strewn with lupine
between the mountain oaks. I don't
ask myself what I'm looking for.
I didn't come for answers
to a place like this, I came to walk
on the earth, still cold, still silent.
Still ungiving, I've said to myself,
although it greets me with last year's
dead thistles and this year's
hard spines, early blooming
wild onions, the curling remains
of spider's cloth. What did I bring
to the dance? In my back pocket
a crushed letter from a woman
I've never met bearing bad news
I can do nothing about. So I wander
these woods half sightless while
a west wind picks up in the trees
clustered above. The pines make
a music like no other, rising and
falling like a distant surf at night
that calms the darkness before
first light. "Soughing" we call it, from
Old English, no less. How weightless
words are when nothing will do.

-- Philip Levine . Breath. Knopf, 2004.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Split This Rock Holiday Party

Calling all DC Poets Against the War, Split This Rock volunteers, poets, activists, and friends. Please join us for a holiday gathering: Celebrate our successes, toast our marvelous volunteers, hear about plans for the spring, get involved with Split This Rock, the historic gathering of activist poets in DC in March (http://www.splitthisrock.og/).

Sunday, December 2, 4-6 pm
916 G Street NW, Washington, DC

The Mather Studios building, across the street from the Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library. Gallery Place Metro on the Red and Green lines.

Someone will be at the door to let you in. If not, call 202-577-6596 and we will run down to welcome you.

For more information: browning@splitthisrock.org, http://www.splitthisrock.org/, 202-577-6596

Can't make it but want to be involved with planning Split This Rock? Download the volunteer form at http://www.splitthisrock.org/.

Looking forward to seeing you!


Sarah Browning
DC Poets Against the War
Split This Rock Poetry Festival

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Poetry is the anti-code: Cut Loose the Body on Blog This Rock

Pete Montgomery writes up the stunning reading at the Botero exhibit Saturday night on Blog This Rock:

The order for Garcia Lorca’s painful death, Nurkse said, was given in code: “Give him strong coffee.” Said Nurkse, in what could be a concise summation of the purpose of the evening, the work of DC Poets Against the War, and the goal of Split This Rock poetry festival, “Poetry is the anti-code.”

Read the post here: http://blogthisrock.blogspot.com/2007/11/cut-loose-body-poetry-as-anti-code.html
The photo is of Kyle Dargan reading his poem in the chapbook, Cut Loose the Body, taken by Dan Vera. See more photos here: http://flickr.com/photos/20390684@N02/sets/72157603117982631/

Monday, November 12, 2007


Impeachment: Trial by Theater at the Culture Project, NYC

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Paintings Meet Poems at AU Museum

Nearly 200 people packed the third floor of the American University Museum. The chairs were filled, people stood around the walls, sat on the floor, and draped themselves over railings. Botero’s beautiful and haunting paintings of Abu Ghraib surrounded us, like stained-glass windows ringing tonight’s sanctuary of poetry.
Read Joe Ross' report from last night's reading - a knockout: http://livewrite.blogspot.com/2007/11/blog-post.html

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Split This Rock Benefit Reading with Mark Doty, Kathy Engel, Regie Cabico

A Benefit Reading for Split This Rock Poetry Festival
With Mark Doty, Regie Cabico, and Kathy Engel

Monday, December 10, 2007, 8 pm
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, New York, NY 212.614.0505

Tickets: $25 at the door

Split This Rock Poetry Festival, Washington, DC, March 20-23, 2008, calls poets to a greater role in public life and fosters a national community of activist poets. Featuring readings, workshops, panels, contests, walking tours, film, parties, and activism! See the website for the incredible line-up of poets, including Mark Doty, Sonia Sanchez, Martín Espada, Naomi Shihab Nye, and many more: http://www.splitthisrock.org/. Or contact: info@splitthisrock.org.

Mark Doty will be featured at Split This Rock in March. The only American poet to have won Great Britain's T. S. Eliot Prize, Doty is the author of six books of poems, including My Alexandria (1993), which received both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has also published Atlantis (1995), Sweet Machine (1998) and Source (2001), and School of the Arts (2005), as well as the memoirs Heaven's Coast (1996) and Firebird (1999). Among his many other awards are two NEA fellowships, Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, a Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Award, and the Witter Bynner Prize. Doty teaches in the graduate program the University of Houston, and is a frequent guest at Columbia University, Hunter College, and NYU. He lives in Houston and in New York City.

Regie Cabico is Artistic Director of Sol & Soul, a Split This Rock founding sponsor. He is a poet, playwright, and spoken word performer. He took top prizes at the 1993, 1994, and 1997 National Poetry Slams. His work appears in over 30 anthologies and he co-edited Poetry Nation: A North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry. He received a NYFA Artist Fellowship for Poetry in 1997, NYFAs in 2003 for Poetry and Performance Art, and two Brooklyn Arts Council Poetry Awards. Cabico has been a teacher for Urban Word and developed a poetry and performance program for teens with psychiatric illness at Bellevue Hospital. He received the 2006 Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers in recognition of his work with diverse communities.

Kathy Engel’s books include Ruth's Skirts (IKON, February 2007), a collection of poems and prose pieces; and We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon (Interlink Books, March 2007), which she coedited with Kamal Boullata. She is an advisory board member of Split This Rock, a communications/strategic planning consultant, and a producer for social justice, peace and human rights organizations. She founded the women's human rights organization MADRE and was the executive director for five years. Before that she worked at the Academy of American Poets, New York Mobilization for Survival and as executive director of the Fund For Open Information and Accountability.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Blog This Rock - The New Split This Rock Blog is Live

Check out the new Split This Rock Blog, Blog This Rock! It is edited/curated by Peter Montgomery and will showcase exciting work at the intersection of poetry and social change from all over the country. Building toward Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 20-23, 2008, Blog This Rock will be a forum for discussion, networking, and change.

The first post is by guest bloggers Joe Ross and Rose Marie Berger, who edited the chapbook, Cut Loose the Body, poems about torture and the Abu Ghraib paintings of Fernando Botero, which are scheduled to go on display at American University this week. Joe writes:

Torture remains a disgraceful part of our national vocabulary. U.S. officials continue to bend the language, refusing to say that even waterboarding is torture. We are baffled at our country’s blindness. But our frustration found a voice in Colombian painter Fernando Botero’s haunting “Abu Ghraib” paintings.

Read the whole post here: http://www.blogthisrock.blogspot.com/. Post your comments. Join the conversation. If you're in the area, come to the reading on November 10. And if you're interested in guest blogging on Blog This Rock, contact Pete at blog@splitthisrock.org. We welcome posts on projects at the intersection of poetry and social change, social issue poets and poetry, and any topic you think might be of interest to your fellow activist poets.

Huge thanks to Pete, Split This Rock web maestro Heather Davis, and Joe and Rose!


New Review for Whiskey - Montserrat Review

Thanks again to the folks at the Montserrat Review, who praise the poems in Whiskey in the Garden of Eden for writing alternative history and originating from the "honest barricade." Read the review here: http://www.themontserratreview.com/bookreviews/whiskeyinthegarden.html

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Word Verification for Comments or - weird spam suddenly invades

I'm sorry to say I've had to institute word verification in order for folks to comment on the blog. You know - those stupid letters you have to retype to prove you're a human. In the past 24 hours, I've deleted scores of messages telling me I had new comments on the blog -- all of them spam. I don't have any idea what the spammers get out of spamming on blogs... but this is the only way to prevent them, I think.

So, apologies, especially to low-vision users who I know have a hard time with these stupid thingies.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Iraq Brings War Trauma Into Our Homes

Friends and families of returning U.S. soldiers know that many veterans bring the war home with them in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder, leading to an extraordinary number of domestic violence cases.

Read the article by Nicole Sotelo on Women's Enews here: http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=3368

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South November 18

Sunday Kind of Love
A Busboys & Poetry Event
Third Sundays of the Month, 4 pm
Busboys & Poets
14th & V Streets, NW, Washington, DC
Hosted by Sarah Browning, Coordinator of D.C. Poets Against the War
& Regie Cabico, Artistic Director of Sol & Soul
Open Mic at each event!

Sunday, November 18, 2007, 4 pm
Celebrating the new Cave Canem Anthology, Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South

With Editor Nikky Finney and Contributors Matilda Cox, Reuben Jackson, and Meta DuEwa Jones

Nikky Finney is a professor of creative writing at the University of Kentucky and the author of three collections of poetry: On Wings Made of Gauze; Rice, which won a PEN America Open Book Award; and The World Is Round. She is also the author of Heartwood, a collection of short stories.

Cave Canem is a national nonprofit organization committed to the discovery and cultivation of new voices in African American poetry. From its beginning in 1996, Cave Canem has offered a safe haven for black poets-whether schooled in MFA programs or poetry slams-to come together to work on their craft and engage others in critical debate

NEXT: Sunday, December 16, 4 pm
DC Poets Against the War Heather Davis & Mike Maggio!

For more info: www.busboysandpoets.com, womenarts2@aol.com


Sekou Sundiata's the 51st (dream) state remounted

A Message from Sekou Sundiata’s family and friends:

When Sekou Sundiata passed away in July 2007 he was in the midst of touring his acclaimed music/theater production, the 51st (dream) state – a work he considered his personal and poetic “State of the American Soul Address.” Sekou’s family, the entire cast of the 51st (dream) state, his artistic collaborators and his producers are committed to carrying on Sekou’s voice and vision by continuing to bring this important and timely work to stages around the country.

The premiere of the re-mounted 51st (dream) state is coming up in November and we invite you to show your support, help us fill the house, spread the word and join us in Miami as long-time performer & collaborator LaTanya Hall steps into Sekou’s role as "the voice of the poet" backed by an all-star ensemble of singers and musicians. Performances are being presented by Miami Dade College at The Colony Theater in Miami Beach on Friday & Saturday November 16 and 17 at 8pm. We hope you can make it for this premiere of the re-mounted show! Follow this link for details: http://www.mdc.edu/culture/events/51stdreamstate.htm

the 51st dream state producers will continue to offer this work on tour through the Fall 2008. The show is a loving and demanding look at some cherished mythologies and difficult truths about citizenship in the U.S.A. As the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections approach, questions of civic responsibility and citizenship become immediately relevant. the 51st (dream) state exposes the questions, provokes critical reflection and spurs meaningful dialogue. Shepherded through a universe of poems, monologues, songs and images, diverse audiences come together to imagine a more perfect Union. the 51st (dream) state offers viewers a profound place from which to continue this conversation outside of the theater.
** Please note our new email and web address**
Emily Harney
Project Manager
MAPP International Productions
140 Second Avenue, Suite 502
New York, NY 10003
T: 646.602.9390
F: 646.602.9395


Rumi Me, Rumi You, Rumi 'Til I'm Through

This week marks the 800th birthday of Rumi, the mystic Sufi poet. Check out Kim Roberts' guest blog about him, which includes a lovely short poem, on the Vrzhu Press blog here:


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