So this weekend was the first Split This Rock Poetry Festival. Poets from around the country converged for this first ever festival celebrating poetry of provocation and witness. The festival was put on by the local DC Poets Against War group with the support of a number of organizations and individuals (including White Crane Institute).
The weekend’s lineup of poets included: Grace Cavalieri, Dennis Brutus, Mark Doty, Naomi Shihab Nye, Brian Gilmore, Alex Olson, Martin Espada, Carolyn Forche, Kenneth Carroll, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Galway Kinnell, Coleman Barks, Pamela Chris August, Princess of Controversy, Joel Dias Porter (aka DJ Renegade), Ishle Yi Park, Steve Kuusisto, Semezdin Mehmedinovic, E. Ethelbert Miller, Alicia Ostriker, Sonia Sanchez, Patricia Smith, Susan Tichy, Pamela Uschuk, Belle Waring.
The festival was a great success and the hope is to hold these every two years.
I got some video of Mark Doty’s gorgeous reading on Saturday night. Doty read a number of poems including Walt Whitman’s "Over the Carnage Rose Prophetic A Voice." But I was really stunned by his reading of an earlier poem of his titled "Charlie Howard’s Descent" written after the killing of a Gay boy in Maine. The video is below. Below are links from other videos I posted to Youtube.
Mark Doty reading Whitman:
Galway Kinnell stunning reading Paul Celan’s "Fugue of Death"