Friday, April 18, 2014

Poem of the Week: Pablo Miguel Martínez






















azul / lejos


the math of dance
the math of breath
counting 4 / 4
with / on us / you
heartbeat’s meter
Lully’s baton
the up the down


peninsular thought
etched by the briny vastness
no easy sailing ’round it
I pray for         strong gusts
                        full masts
Voyages in English
the textbook’s name
part France   part isle
neither mine
I stand in the crow’s nest
searching for the far
blue of language
my anguished cartography


our pleas to Heaven
a newborn gazelle wobbling
swiftness soon enough


 —Pablo Miguel Martínez

Used by permission.


Pablo Miguel Martínez's collection of poems, Brazos, Carry Me (Kórima Press), received the 2013 PEN Southwest Book Award for Poetry. Martínez's work has appeared in journals, newspapers, and anthologies, including Americas Review, Best Gay Poetry 2008, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, El Paso Times, Gay and Lesbian Review, North American Review, San Antonio Express-News, and This Assignment Is So Gay. Martínez has been a recipient of the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Artistic Excellence, the Oscar Wilde Award, and the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize. His literary work has received support from the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation and the Artist Foundation of San Antonio. Martínez is a Co-Founder of CantoMundo, a national retreat-workshop for Latina/o poets. He teaches English at the University of Louisville.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!
  
If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Poem of the Week: Elizabeth Acevedo

Liz Acevedo
 

The Therapist Says to Talk Through Your Door in Case You're Listening 


Rob, my heart is a peeled clementine and I don't wince
anymore when you stick your thumb in the hollow middle,
pull apart. You don't even swallow these pieces
just set them underneath your bed (next to the safe box
Papi pried open because he was afraid you'd bought a gun.
It was actually a bundle of never posted letters to Obama
asking him for the money owed to you for having penned
The Sixth Sense and A Beautiful Mind), and as this scent
of rotting citrus blossoms in the room we shared as children
--I can hear you murmur, your laugh echoing my scraping
at the wood of your door. Rob, I am splintered, drawn blood.
We both know how to slip medicine into milk, how to gift
each other with our backs. The hundred kinds of get out
someone can backhand against a name, take them all, palmed,
opened, don't be afraid that I'll ever try to walk through this door,
because the surface against my cheek is the only comfort you've shown
me in years. Rob, you always said clementines were too sweet.
Fold, shrivel, leave nothing behind but molded skin.

-Elizabeth Acevedo

Used by permission.


Elizabeth Acevedo was born and raised in New York City. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Maryland. Acevedo has been published or has work forthcoming in The Acentos Review, The Ostrich Review, and Callaloo. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a member of the 2013 Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. She lives and works in Washington, DC as a teaching artist for Split This Rock.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

Friday, April 4, 2014

April Sunday Kind of Love: Elizabeth Acevedo & Pablo Miguel Martínez

Sunday Kind of Love
presents:

Elizabeth Acevedo
&
   Pablo Miguel Martínez 
  
Liz Acevedo
Pablo Miguel Martinez  
Sunday April 20, 2014

5-7pm

Busboys & Poets

2021 14th St. NW

Washington, DC 20009


Hosted by
Sarah Browning & Katy Richey
$5 online or at the door

As always, open mic follows!
Co-Sponsored by
Busboys and Poets &


Elizabeth Acevedo was born and raised in New York City. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Maryland. Acevedo has been published or has work forthcoming in The Acentos Review, The Ostrich Review, and Callaloo. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a member of the 2013 Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. She lives and works in Washington, DC, as a teaching artist for Split This Rock.

Pablo Miguel Martínez's collection of poems, Brazos, Carry Me (Kórima Press), received the 2013 PEN Southwest Book Award for Poetry. Martínez's work has appeared in journals, newspapers, and anthologies, including Americas Review, Best Gay Poetry 2008, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, El Paso Times, Gay and Lesbian Review, North American Review, San Antonio Express-News, and This Assignment Is So Gay. Martínez has been a recipient of the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Artistic Excellence, the Oscar Wilde Award, and the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize. His literary work has received support from the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation and the Artist Foundation of San Antonio. Martínez is a Co-Founder of CantoMundo, a national retreat-workshop for Latina/o poets. He teaches English at the University of Louisville.

Poem of the Week: Venus Thrash


Venus Thrash


Abortion in the Garden of Eden 


Deep in the heart of the Garden of Eden,
past the Euphrates & Tigris riverbanks,
the marsh grass, reed beds, bulrushes,  
the rough-leafed black mulberry's
sweet purple fruit, the sour pomegranate's
brief bloom, the pistachio, split open to green
tart flesh, the date palm's intoxicating wine,
its meaty drupe, twilight's first meal, breaking
fast for Ramadan, its fanned leaves laid across
the Way of Suffering at the soles of Jesus' feet;
past the olive's anointing oil, burnt offering
in holy temples, the opulent branches crowning
victors of wars, the remnants sealed 3000 years
in Tutankhamen's tomb; past citric lime's aromatic
pulp, the fig's feminine flower, the pubescent
apricot, akin to the peach, its erogenous nectar,
healing stone; past clusters of grapes, violently
lush, mellowing on overcrowded vines, sugary
cinnamon artlessly hewn from the bark
of evergreens; past Aphrodite's succulent
quince, bewitching to Atalanta,whose sworn
virginity to Artemis was felled by the tempting
pome; past stiff-necked tulips, night-blooming
jasmines, blood-stained hyacinths, deep-rooted
camel thorns, willows in the rivers' midst,
the Tree of Life vowing immortality; past the Tree
of Knowledge of Good & Evil, damning
womankind, stands a wild row of herbal shrubs
eclipsing shady corners of a disillusioned
paradise; bastard hellebore, brewed by witches
to summon forth demons, or blood, cures hysterics,
women screaming, running naked through the streets;
common rue, Herb-of-Grace, constricts the womb;
birthwort for snakebite, seeds, contraceptive,
tea leaves purge the embryo; bitter waters,
fed to a pregnant wife, testing infidelity,
branded adulteress, disavowed if she miscarries--
that if Eve had not eaten the fateful apple,
she never would have known--
what knuckleheads Cain & Abel,
how demanding raising civilization
can be, how the curse of painful labor proves
God's vengeance is exacting, how envy
drives the hearts of men to murder.

 

-Venus Thrash 

Used by permission.
From The Fateful Apple
(Hawkins Publishing Group, 2014).


Venus Thrash has had poetry published in Gargoyle, Beltway Quarterly, Torch, and the Arkansas Review, and in the anthologies Spaces Between Us: An HIV/AIDS Anthology, Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade, and Haunted Voices, Haunting Places: An Anthology of Writers of the Old and New South. She has read at the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Schomburg Center for African American Research, and The Library of Congress. She is a professor of fiction and poetry, and a mother. Thrash was a featured poet at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2012, and just released her first book, The Fateful Apple, in 2014.
Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!
  
If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Poem of the Week: Joy Harjo




Anchorage 

           for Audre Lorde

This city is made of stone, of blood, and fish.
There are Chugatch Mountains to the east
and whale and seal to the west.
It hasn't always been this way, because glaciers
who are ice ghosts create oceans, carve earth
and shape this city here, by the sound.
They swim backwards in time.

Once a storm of boiling earth cracked open
the streets, threw open the town.
It's quiet now, but underneath the concrete
is the cooking earth,
                                 and above that, air
which is another ocean, where spirits we can't see
are dancing                joking                   getting full
on roasted caribou, and the praying
goes on, extends out.

Nora and I go walking down 4th Avenue
and know it is all happening.
On a park bench we see someone's Athabascan
grandmother, folded up, smelling like 200 years
of blood and piss, her eyes closed against some
unimagined darkness, where she is buried in an ache
in which nothing makes
                                       sense.

We keep on breathing, walking, but softer now,
the clouds whirling in the air above us.
What can we say that would make us understand
better than we do already?
Except to speak of her home and claim her
as our own history, and know that our dreams
don't end here, two blocks away from the ocean
where our hearts still batter away at the muddy shore.

And I think of the 6th Avenue jail, of mostly Native
and Black men, where Henry told about being shot at
eight times outside a liquor store in L.A., but when
the car sped away he was surprised he was alive,
no bullet holes, man, and eight cartridges strewn
on the sidewalk
                        all around him.

Everyone laughed at the impossibility of it,
but also the truth. Because who would believe
the fantastic and terrible story of all of our survival
those who were never meant
                                                to survive?


-Joy Harjo
Used by permission.
From She Had Some Horses
(W.W. Norton & Company, 2008).

 

Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is an internationally known poet, performer, writer, and saxophone player of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. Her seven books of poetry include How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975 - 2002, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and She Had Some Horses, all published by W.W. Norton. Her most recent books are a memoir, Crazy Brave (W.W. Norton, 2012), and Soul Talk, Song Language Conversations with Joy Harjo (Wesleyan Press, 2011). Her poetry has garnered many awards including the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, 1998 Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Harjo co-edited an anthology of contemporary Native women's writing: Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Native Women's Writing of North America, one of the London Observer's Best Books of 1997, and has written award-winning books for children and young adults. Harjo also performs a one-woman show, "Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light," which premiered at the Wells Fargo Theater in Los Angeles in 2009 with other performances at the Public Theater in NYC and LaJolla Playhouse. She writes a column "Comings and Goings" for her tribal newspaper, the Muscogee Nation News and lives in Glenpool, OK.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Joy Katz on Whiteness

Writing Whiteness: An Interview with Joy Katz on Post No Ills


Photo of Joy Katz
Photo by: Star Black, 2011

2012 2nd Place Poetry Contest Winner, Elizabeth Hoover, recently interviewed Joy Katz about whiteness, race, and her new project (tentatively titled "Frayed") for Post No Ills Magazine.

"I can’t make whiteness go away, but I can find out how it came to envelop my life, and try to fray it. Maybe I can poke a hole in it big enough to fit myself through and stand on the other side. It is hard to perceive something that has been invisible to me for so long."

Read the full, illuminating interview here.

Katz will be on the panel "Calling Whiteness to Account" on Friday March 28th from 2:00-3:30pm in room 300 of the Charles Sumner School at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2014.

ELIZABETH HOOVER is the assistant director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center. Her author interviews and book reviews have appeared in the Paris Review Daily, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and the Dallas Morning News, among others.

JOY KATZ is the author, most recently, of All You Do is Perceive, a Stalecher Selection at Four Way Books and a National Poetry Series finalist. Her other collections are The Garden Room (Tupelo) and Fabulae (Southern Illinois). Her honors include an NEA fellowship, a Stegner fellowship, and a Pushcart residency at Jentel. She teaches in the graduate writing programs at Carlow University and Chatham University and lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and young son.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Split This Rock Poetry Festival Social Change Book Fair


Saturday, March 29, 2014
10:30 am - 4 pm
Human Rights Campaign, Equality Forum
1640 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

In addition to Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2014 readings, panels, workshops, and opportunities to build community across barriers, this year we will also showcase the significant role of publishers and those who bring us the kinds of writing Split This Rock celebrates: impassioned, visionary, and truth-telling. And we will bring the critically important work of social change groups to poets, activists, and the public.

Browse the Book Fair on Saturday at the Human Rights Campaign Equality Forum to check out small presses, reviews, and organizations with a social justice focus!

Exhibitors include: 

Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here-DC 2016
The Center for Book Arts
Chapters Literary Bookstore
Do the Write Thing Foundation of DC
The MFA Program in Poetry at Drew University 
Flying Guillotine Press
Kim Jensen, US Campaign for the Academic and
Cultural Boycott of Israel
Life Success Center for Children, Youth, and Families
Plan B Press
The Poetry Game: Benefits Split This Rock's Youth Programs
Quiddity Literary Journal 
Quill Sedge Press
RedBone Press
Settlement House
Split This Rock
SRPR (Spoon River Poetry Review)
Turning the Page & Carpe Librum
The Writer’s Center / Poet Lore
Zozobra Publishing

Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness is made possible in part by support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, and the Open Society, Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz, and Nathan Cummings Foundations. Major partners are Busboys and Poets, the Institute for Policy Studies, and Teaching for Change, which also acts as the official festival bookseller. Cosponsors include the Beacon Hotel; Letras Latinas, the literary arts program of the Center for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame; Poets & Writers; the Human Rights Campaign; the Jimenez-Porter Writers House of the University of Maryland; and the Wilderness Society.