« The Virtual Librarian: A Secret Life | Main | Split This Rock--In the Trenches March 21, 2008 »

Split This Rock Poetry Festival--Opening Night

The Dresser is reporting from the front--The Split This Rock Poetry Festival.NyeTshirt.jpg

Poet Sarah Browning with the support of the DC Poets Against the War, Institute for Policy Studies, Busboys and Poets, and Sol & Soul has pulled out all the stops to bring poetry in protest against the war in Iraq to Washington, DC. This is the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq and Browning intends to make it meaningful beyond those who typically come out to protest. Browning.jpg

Where did Browning get the name of the Festival? From the poem "Big Buddy" by Langston Hughes:

Don't you hear this hammer ring?
I'm gonna split this rock
And split it wide!
When I split this rock,
Stand by my side.
- Langston Hughes

The Dresser attended the 2nd event of the first day and this was a reading featuring: Martin Espada, E. Ethelbert Miller, Naomi Shihab Nye and Alix Olson.

Highlights from the reading:

From Sarah Browning: "We come together to give hope. Ethelbert Miller said, "not with our dirges but our jubilees.'" Absent from the conference due to illness are Sam Hamill and Sharon Olds.

Adrienne Rich sent a new poem entitled "Emergency Clinic" that was read by festival organizer Melissa Tuckey.

From Martin Espada who wondered about a chair standing next to the speaker's podium: "This chair is for the person who should be here to hear the truth--Dick Cheney's chair!"Espada.jpg

From Ethelbert Miller: "The sickness of war surrounds us. Do we want to be well in 2008? Let us proclaim the wellness of peace!"Miller:Orr.jpg

From Naomi Shihab Nye: two poems that packed big wallops--Letters our Pres won't be sending and a poem about an old Muslim woman who spoke no English who got stranded in an airport and broke down in a crying fit. Nye came to her rescue and pretty soon everyone at that gate was eating the old woman's cookies. Why can't the world be like this all the time? Nye asked.

From Alix Olson, performance poet--a breaking up with my country poem.Olson.jpg

A view of the Split This Rock Audience including poet Alicia Ostriker.


Comments (2)


oh, thank you for this, Karren
Please, do tell us when you post more

I do hope there was a fantastic turnout - -
such events do give me hope

Ethel Louise Beach:

Dear Karen:

I'm at the Vermont Studio Center for two weeks.  Otherwise, I'd be at the Split This Rock festival.   I appreciate your sending on the pictures. 

Post a comment

Use this form to place a comment to a post in the blog. You must include a valid email address for spam protection. Please see our Privacy Policy for details on how your private information is used and protected. Your comment will be posted as soon as it is reviewed by the blog editor.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 20, 2008 11:39 PM.

The previous post in this blog was The Virtual Librarian: A Secret Life.

The next post in this blog is Split This Rock--In the Trenches March 21, 2008.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.