So so needed.
Call for Poems that Speak Against Violence and for Embrace
If the back & arms you carry riddle with black
spots & marks made by birds who don’t want us here—
I will remind you: There are people who did this before us,
brown & black-spotted, yellow, with rattails,
born from what others did not want & loathed & aimed
to never let belong, & so, we are here today—
the field is wide. We make saliva from root & light.
Our spikelets grow, & do you feel the wind?
– Joe Jiménez, Smutgrass
Orlando. Dhaka. Istanbul. Baghdad. Medina. The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the murder of police officers in Dallas. This summer, terrible bigotry and violence have rent our global community. The killings must end, and we in the poetry community must contribute in any way we can. As we search for answers to these horrors and for ways to combat hatred and prejudice, we are reminded of poetry’s capacity to respond to violence, to help us regenerate, like spikelets sprouting in a contested field, claiming our public spaces for everyone.
In solidarity with all those targeted at home and abroad, from the LGBT community in the United States to devastated families of Baghdad, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. Over the next couple of weeks, from July 14 to 28, we are requesting poems in response to and against violence toward marginalized communities:
- Poems will be accepted until July 28, 2016.
- Send us your poems in response to this violent summer, and we will publish them on Split This Rock’s blog, Blog This Rock (blogthisrock.blogspot.com), to create a Virtual Open Mic. We welcome poems new and old, whether previously published or not. (Please include credit information for previously published work.)
- Thematically we are wide open: resistance, mourning, rage, celebration, love. We are especially open to poems focused on how we build again, how we heal, the places of light shining through the pain.
- Unfortunately, Split This Rock’s blog is not compatible with poems with complex formatting. Should we find that your poem can not be properly we will be in touch to request a different poem.
- Send the poem(s) as email attachments (.doc or .docx only) with the subject line “A Call in Response to Violence” to email@example.com.
- Please include the poem’s title and your full contact information in the body of the email.
- We invite one poem per person.
- From the open mic collection, we may occasionally choose poems to run as Poem of the Week in the weeks ahead. We will contact you directly if we decide to use your poem for Poem of the Week.
After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to Congress and the National Rifle Association.
Split This Rock is also accepting poems for its 10th Annual Poetry Contest until November 1, 2016.