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Split This Rock cultivates, teaches, and celebrates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change.
Black header text reads It's time to gather seeds! Under this text is bold black text that reads Fallow Season. These words hover over and above an image of a yellow sun rising from green fields under a blue sky with three yellow dots surrounding it.
Dear Community,

On this last day of 2021, we write with an invitation and offerings that we hope will support you in transitioning from one year to the next -- including the 20 Most Read Poems of Pandemic Times.

The Invitation: We have received a challenge grant from The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation that will match every donation from a new supporter or increased gift from an existing donor we receive -- up to $15,000! 

Will you help us access $15,000 to invest into the things you say matter most about our work? Things like:

  • continuing to strive toward greater alignment with our values externally & internally -- read about our efforts at our website.

  • free poetry resources and opportunities, such as The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database

  • providing a platform for amplifying social justice poets from a wide range of styles, experience levels, and identities;

  • embedded accessibility practices;

  • opportunities to practice and learn about the crafts of writing and performance, as well as how to connect them with activism;

  • online & in-person gathering spaces that center community, care, affirmation, celebration of our dynamic & glorious differences, and opportunities to grow better at showing up for one another

Visit Split This Rock's online giving portal to make a one-time donation or become a sustaining monthly donor.

Year End Offerings: As we end the year and consider what we all may have come through, we are sending two gifts your way that we hope will offer your heart encouragement, comfort, and strength.

  • 20 Top Poems of Pandemic Times! Scroll down to explore the poems that you've held close through the pandemic thus far.
  • Year End Writing Prompts! We're sending 3 special prompts, each written by one of Split This Rock staff members, below.

The impact of Split This Rock has always been powered by the people who support it. We thank you for reading, donating, boosting this email, and supporting Split This Rock in so many ways!

May the new year be a doorway to a more compassionate society, more of what sustains us, more of what helps us thrive!

Split This Rock
Image Description: Black header text reads “It’s time to gather seeds!” Beneath the header text, bold black text reads “Fallow Season.” These words hover over and above an illustration of a yellow sun rising from green fields under a blue sky. Three yellow dots surround the illustration.
Presenting 20 Top Poems
of Pandemic Times
A collage of the 20 featured poets in square frames. There is a white rectangle under the first row of images on the left that includes the red Split This Rock logo with white text in a black box that reads Most Read Poems of the Pandemic.
Annually, we take time to spotlight and celebrate the poems visited most in The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database. Every list is a way to reflect on what has affirmed, nourished, empowered, enlightened, comforted, and encouraged us as we’ve faced the year’s challenges, losses, and delights.

Today, we present the year’s 20 Most Read Poems of Pandemic Times! Even as we continue on through a global pandemic, we are grateful for the opportunity to pause and shine a light on the poems that have gotten us through thus far.

We know well how a single poem is a perpetual gift to its audience -- nourishing us again each time we receive it. We hope these poems blossom into an infinite resource of creative stimulation, activation, inspiration, and soothing for you. Thank you for reading!

1.Meditations in an Emergency by Cameron Awkward-Rich

2.There Is a Lake Here by Clint Smith

3.Learning My Name by Marjan Naderi

5.A Small Needful Fact by Ross Gay

6.The Love for My Culture by Elexia Alleyne

7.2 fat black women are making love by Saida Agostini

8.Do You Speak Persian? by Kaveh Akbar

9.Poem Resisting Arrest by Kyle Dargan

10.YOU ARE WHO I LOVE by Aracelis Girmay

13.Do not make Grief your God by Mahogany L. Browne

14.when white supremacy kills me by Justice Ameer

16.america by Fatimah Asghar

17.not an elegy for Mike Brown by Danez Smith

18.Guidelines by Lisa Suhair Majaj

19.t for t by Justice Ameer

20.Declaration of Inter-Dependence by Richard Blanco

A special collection of all of these poems will be available at The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database in 2022.
Image Description: Split This Rock’s red logo is aligned to the left with white text in a solid black box under it that says "Most Read Poems of the Pandemic." Collaged photos in square frames of the 19 featured poets surround the text. From left to right in the top row are photos of Cameron Awkward-Rich, Bianca Lynne Spriggs, Marjan Naderi, Lisa Suhair Majaj, and Danez Smith. From left to right in the second row is Kyle Dargan, Kaveh Akbar, Mahogany L. Browne, and Justice Ameer. From left to right in the third row is Fatimah Asghar, Darius Simpson, Amanda Gorman, Saida Agostini, and Ross Gay. From left to right in the bottom row is Richard Blanco, Clint Smith, Elexia Alleyne, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, and Aracelis Girmay. 

Photo Credits: Cameron Awkward-Rich by Samuel Ace. Lisa Suhair Majaj by Andreas Alexandrou. Danez Smith by Hieu Minh Nguyen. Kyle Dargan by Marlene Hawthrone Thomas. Kaveh Akbar by B. A. Van Sise. Mahogany L. Browne by Jennie Bergqvist. Justice Ameer by Ally Schmaling. Fatimah Asghar by Jason Riker. Darius Simpson by Derick Jerome. Amanda Gorman by Abbie Trayler-Smith. Saida Agostini by Shanti Flagg. Richard Blanco by Nico Tucci. Aracelis Girmay by Sheila Griffin.
Writing Prompts for
End of Year Reflection
It's that time of year when we often take time to reflect back on the past year and set intentions for moving forward into a new year. We offer three writing prompts from each of Split This Rock's staff members as support for processing what has passed and harnessing creative power to move towards what our bodies, minds, and hearts hunger for most. May your writing time support you in greeting 2022 with peace & power!
Chelsea Iorlano smiles brightly and wears a multicolored wrap. She has a flower in her hair and there is a landscape of plants behind her.
From Chelsea Iorlano

Take a moment to connect with yourself and settle into your body. Can you breathe your way to a moment of relaxation? When you feel relaxed or grounded, sense into the corners of your self where you tuck away what is tender, difficult, inconvenient, painful, or overwhelming to hold. Where does your confusion, sadness, stress, grief, impatience live?

Read Raymond Antrobus's poem "The Acceptance." Then, gather 2-3 images or sensory experiences from your dreams -- recently, this year, at any point in life. If your dreams aren't easily available to your conscious memory, try identifying a common dream that's resonant for you. Write a poem that applies the 2-3 images or sensory experiences as a balm to any tenderness you discovered while breathing and grounding. Hold these questions as you write: what wants to emerge in your waking life? What wants to be soothed, released, transformed, or healed?
Image of Camisha Jones. She wears a red sleeveless blouse and glasses. Her left hand rests on her chest. She stands behind a microphone in the midst of reciting a poem.
From Camisha Jones

Make a list of up to 10 facts about this past year. Think of one emotion that has been felt often in 2021 or one that is taking up a lot of space in this present moment. If you’re having trouble tapping into your emotions, think of an experience that has made a big impact on you instead. It can be a single moment or a snapshot in your memory. Finally, identify a question you’re holding as 2022 draws near. Through the lens of your selected emotion or memory, write a poem that responds to the question you are holding and incorporates as many of the facts that you've brainstormed as possible.
Image of Alexandria Petrassi outdoors smiling.
From Alexandria Petrassi

Read adrienne maree brown's "radical gratitude spell." Write a spell for embodiment -- a spell that draws you deeper into yourself and grounds you in the spectrum of sensations you're experiencing at any given moment. 

Some directions you might explore as you write: What blessings can you bestow upon your body? Where do you feel gratitude in your body? What is an affirmation that you need to receive? What offerings does your body make in the form of sensations and feelings? 

May your spells carry you deeper into yourself, closer to your dreams, and bless your body in whatever ways feel good. 
Image Descriptions
Chelsea Iorlano smiles brightly and wears a multicolored wrap. She has a flower in her hair and there is a landscape of plants behind her.

Camisha Jones wears a red sleeveless blouse and glasses. Her left hand rests on her chest and her natural hair frames her face. She stands behind a microphone in the midst of reciting a poem.

Alexandria Petrassi stands outside smiling and looking to the right. Her dark brown hair is shoulder-length and worn wavy with half pulled back. She wears a light blue dress with white embroidery on the front, a full moon necklace, and a black and gray sweater off her shoulders. It's autumn, and in the background brown leaves are on the ground. 

Photo Credits: Chelsea Iorlano by Marcela Torres-Cervantes. Camisha Jones by Naji R Copeland Sr. Alexandria Petrassi by Benjamin Renne.
Tell Us About Your New Books!
As much as we'd like to cheer for all the new books that arrive or get announced between now and April 1, 2022, we know our capacity to do so with much fairness is limited during fallow season. We are continuing to pay attention to new publications and poets that we might spotlight when we relaunch next year. To tell us about your new book or a new book you think we should know about, complete this short online form. We've also started a thread on Twitter as an open invitation to alert us about new books -- please chime in!
Text that reads Split This Rock presents The Quarry A Social Justice Poetry Database appears over a black backround. The words Split This Rock is in white print and each word is within a slanted red box. All other text is white.
While Split This Rock is in its fallow season and the Poem of the Week Series is on pause, we hope you'll continue visiting The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database. There you'll find:

  • a FREE online resource for educators, organizers, poets -- everyone!
  • over 600 poems, searchable by social justice themes, poet identity, geography, format, and more
  • a celebration of contemporary socially engaged poets

If you're moved to share the poems, we welcome you to do so with credit to the poet & The Quarry.

Image Description: Text that reads "Split This Rock presents The Quarry A Social Justice Poetry Database" appears over a black background. The words "Split This Rock" are in white print and each word is within a slanted red box. All other text is white.
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