If you need a more accessible or web version of this email, click here. A text & audio version of this poem is available at Split This Rock's website.
 
Split This Rock cultivates, teaches, and celebrates poetry that bears witness
to injustice and provokes social change.
Poem of the Week
Destiny Hemphill
Destiny Hemphill is seated with a brick wall and windows in the background. She looks directly at the camera and smiles as her face rests in the palm of her left hand. Her clothes are black as are her hat and lip color. She wears a silver necklace.

Content Notice: Reference to Black death

we ask mama-n-em, "where is the motherworld?"

after Ruthie Wilson Gilmore and Evie Shockley

listen.

it's in, not at. in the whistle & hiss, the steam of your breath as you chant
                 we ready (we ready), we comin (we comin) atop of a jail

building in ruins. yes, it's in your breath & in the never dwindling
                 kindle of your fingertips as you reach out & touch

the hands of your kindred, the living & your dead, who keep you here
                 right here where we offer ourselves as the remains of the remaining

future. (keep breathing. don't stop now). yes, in your breath
                 & in your hands that fend off, defend us

from the state that craves our death, seeks to snuff our breath
                 lick the bones. chew the sinew. & in the same hands tending

the fire, tending to the tendons pulled in flight, to bedraggled roots
                 of razed hawthorn trees, to the composting of our


present. tending to the dream that what we need & what others have believed

                 to be found nowhere can be found in the now here, like


in those moments you said, "rent shouldn't exist, so here's a little money for it"
                 or "don't got money for rent, but take

all the food you want" or "don't got food, but wrap yourself up in this"
                 or "don't have anything to wear, but here's a card. been thinking

of you. & a song written for you.
                 & a milkweed found by chance &

the paper you've been wanting so you can write your mama a letter to say you're okay"
                 or "here's a map of the hidden

ways to get back safe."
                 listen:

we've always already been molding & shaping
                 spinning & folding, birthing & sharing

can you feel it? in our breath & in our hands. between us, we've got
                 the motherworld, the whole motherworld in our breath & in our hands.


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Poet's Call to Action
Destiny invites people to amplify and support Durham Beyond Policing, a grassroots coalition to divest from policing and prisons and reinvest municipal resources into supporting the health and wellbeing of Black & Brown communities, benefiting all community members in Durham, NC. Learn more at their website.
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Used with permission.
Photo of Destiny Hemphill above by Zaina Alsous. 
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A poet, healer, and organizer, Destiny Hemphill is a Black daughter of the U.S. South with nearly a decade of experience in co-creating spaces devoted to poetry, communion, and transformation. She has received fellowships from Tin House, Callaloo, and Naropa University. Destiny is the author of the chapbook Oracle: a Cosmology (2018). Her work can also be found in Poetry, Carolina Quarterly, EcoTheo, The Wanderer, and elsewhere. She offers her poems as chants and rites to the sacred art of Black liberation. Destiny is the recipient of Split This Rock's 2020-2021 Poetry Coalition Fellowship.
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Please feel free to share Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask that you include all of the information in this post, including this request and a link to the poem at Split This Rock's website. Thanks!
 
To read more poems of provocation and witness, please visit The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database at SplitThisRock.org.
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Please note: We strive to preserve the text formatting of poems over e-mail, but certain e-mail programs may distort how characters, fonts, indents, and line wraps appear.

Introducing Poetry Coalition Fellow
Destiny Hemphill!

2020 Poetry Coalition Fellowship announcement with a light green background and black and white collaged photos of the five fellows.
 
Split This Rock is delighted to announce a new addition to our team! Please help us extend a warm welcome to Destiny Hemphill, who joins Spit This Rock as a Poetry Coalition Fellow. Destiny will be supporting Poem of the Week curation--as well as other poetry and virtual event curation-- over the coming 10 months. We're so excited to collaborate with her and share that work with you!
 
We're especially glad to share Destiny's poem with this week and thank her for offering these portal words. May this poem and other sources sustain you through the threshing of days and hours and the multiple crises we are each working to repair.  
 
Thank you again to everyone who applied for this fellowship (over 180 amazing poets, editors, curators, and organizers in total). We wish we could hire a full cohort just to work with Split This Rock, and we look forward to finding ways to stay in collaboration and keep creating paid working opportunities for socially engaged poets. 
___________________________
 
The Poetry Coalition, a network of 25+ poetry organizations, is pleased to present the inaugural cohort of the Poetry Coalition Fellowship program. These five individuals -- María Fernanda, Christopher J. Greggs, Steven Duong, Ruba El Melik, and Destiny Hemphill -- have been selected to receive paid fellowships, each at a different host organization within the Poetry Coalition: CantoMundo, Cave Canem, Kundiman, Mizna, and Split This Rock respectively. Learn more about the fellows and their host organizations at the Poetry Coalition's full announcement
 
Poetry Coalition Fellows appear in collage above from left to right as follows: Top row includes Christopher J. Greggs and María Fernanda, Bottom row includes Ruba El Melik, Destiny Hemphill, and Steven Duong. 
 
Poems in support of shared action

but when stone
cannot hold the
flood the flash
the catastrophe
be monsoonal
be surge and silt
the torrent and
the overtaken
burst and bloat
be what drowns
before rising back

-- Katy Richey, "For Brown Girls"

Split This Rock staff offer poem categories in support of public action, grieving, organizing, teaching, or words to start a meeting. In The Quarry, Split This Rock's social justice poetry database, you can find poems by content and author identity. 
 
In this time of steadfast protest and rightful outrage over the persistent and long history of state-sanctioned violence against Black people, Split This Rock remains committed to centering and amplifying Black voices that call for radical change. We encourage those who visit The Quarry to read and listen to poems by Black poets on the following themes:

Community Updates 
   
If you have events, a call for submissions, or other opportunities you'd like to share with the Split This Rock network, send us the info via our Newsletter Updates Request Form. If the online form is not accessible to you, please contact us at info@splitthisrock.org or 202.787.5210 for an alternate method of submission.
   
Visit Split This Rock's website for upcoming events in DC!
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Mass Poetry Seeks a Festival Director | Apply by October 15
Mass Poetry, a nonprofit poetry organization headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, seeks a strong project manager with a passion for poetry to join us as the Festival Director for the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. This contract role will run from approximately October 2020-June 2021 and require approximately 8 hours per week, with flexible and additional availability as the festival approaches. The application due date is October 15, 2020, and all applicants are encouraged to apply early. For the complete job description and application portal, please visit Mass Poetry's website.

City Verses Jazz & Poetry Fall Event Series | October-November
In this one-of-a-kind program co-founded by New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Rutgers-Newark, discover the extraordinary connection between poetry and jazz. These two art forms have intertwined throughout history, and now it's your turn to create the magic that happens when they play together! Join a workshop to write poems set to jazz, or improvise music inspired by poetry. Read your work aloud at one of our community poetry shares. And enjoy performances showcasing poets and jazz artists from Newark and beyond. Creativity ignites when you explore, experiment, and express yourself at any of our free City Verses events. Learn more and sign up for events at City Verses' website

Bi-Monthly Writing to Wellness Workshops | 1st & 3rd Mondays
Writing to Wellness is a discussion-based workshop designed for writers to use poetry as a tool for healing when navigating trauma. Participants will learn helpful tips via discussion on how to navigate trauma through expressive forms of creative writing, how to advocate for others and how to build a safe space for self-care. Hosted by Creative Suitland and facilitated by C. Thomas every first and third Monday of the month. This a donation based workshop. Once registered, the link to workshop will be provided. To register for this one-of-a-kind writer's workshop, visit Creative Suitland's website.
 
Artist Relief Fund -- Apply for a $5K Grant by October 21!
With performance spaces, galleries, libraries, theaters, and studios closed and the temporary halting of most cultural productions, artists are some of the hardest hit among the millions of workers across the United States who are currently unemployed and facing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Artist Relief," is an emergency initiative launched to support artists facing dire financial emergencies due to this global health crisis. "Artist Relief" is an emergency, non-restricted fund that will grant $5,000 to individual artists facing financial hardship. If you have applied in one or more of the previous cycles and not ever received a grant, you may apply again. To apply and learn more, visit the fund's website