Split This Rock


Kicking off the 2014 Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, this showcase of powerful and award-winning poetry features both artists and staff from the nonprofit poetry organization hosting the biennial festival in DC, Split This Rock. High school poets from Split This Rock’s youth program, the DC Youth Slam Team, will perform their original spoken word poetry on the same stage with Native American poet, musician, and author Joy Harjo, master teacher and international slam champion, Gayle Danley, and the poets and staff members that make Split This Rock possible.

Split This Rock calls poets to a greater role in public life and fosters a national network of socially engaged 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.

Split This Rock is dedicated to revitalizing poetry as a living, breathing art form with profound relevance in our daily lives and struggles. Our programs integrate poetry of provocation and witness into movements for social justice and support the poets of all ages who write and perform this vital work.

The name "Split This Rock" is pulled from a line in “Big Buddy,” a poem from 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.

The work of writing the poems that split open the injustices in society is in some ways a solitary act, but it is also an act that requires community. Split This Rock calls all of us to split this rock, and to do it together.


Watch Past Performances

Video 3/26/2014: One Mic Creative Ecosystem Presents Split This Rock Poetry Festival

The One Mic Creative Ecosystem presents this performance in partnership with Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2014, which invites poets, writers, activists, and dreamers to Washington, DC for four days of poetry, community building, and creative transformation. Participants include Joy Harjo, Gayle Danley, three members of the DC Youth Slam Team, and Split This Rock staffers Sarah Browning, Pages Matam, Jonathan B. Tucker, Alisha Gregory, and Camisha JonesPart of One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide.

Video 7/29/2013: Split This Rock’s DC Youth Slam Team

The team performs slam poetry focusing on issues of social justice and highlighting the writing, performance, and public speaking skills of teens from all over the D.C. area. Tickets will be distributed in the States Gallery at approximately 5:30pm. 2 tickets per person.

Split This Rock