Split This Rock

  • District of Columbia


1301 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Suite 600
District of Columbia
United States

About Us

Split This Rock cultivates, teaches, and celebrates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes change. It 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. We believe that poets have a unique role to play in social movements as innovators, visionaries, truth tellers, and restorers of language.

What We Do

  • Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness—Every two years poets, activists, and dreamers gather in our nation’s capital for four days of readings, workshops, discussions, parties, youth voices & activism.
  • Campaigns for Social Change—Integrating poets and poetry into public life and pressing the literary world to represent the full diversity of American poetry.
  • Readings, Workshops & Public Dialogues—Presenting Sunday Kind of Love, a monthly reading series at Busboys and Poets in DC, writing workshops, and conversations between poets and activists.
  • Poem of the Week—A poem by a contemporary poet in your inbox each week. Poems for daily life—for vigils, meetings, blogs, Facebook, subway rides, lunch breaks, and more.
  • Split This Rock Poetry Contest—Annual contest for poems of provocation and witness. Deadline is November 1 each year.
  • Youth ProgramsSupporting young voices through The DC Youth Slam Team, workshops, school-based programming, a regional poetry contest, two poetry slam festivals, and more!

Split This Rock explores and celebrates the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for change: reaching across differences, considering personal and social responsibility, asserting the centrality of the right to free speech, bearing witness to the diversity and complexity of human experience through language, imagining a better world.