Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012 Split This Rock Poetry Festival -- March 22-25

Earlybird registration ends February 22 for the 2012 Split this Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, DC, March 22-25.  Honoring poet June Jordan, the four-day festival will feature more than a dozen noted poets whose work speaks out against indifference and injustice.  One of these is is Minnie Bruce Pratt -- and here is her "Someone is Up," one of the poems featured in the Spring 2012 issue of the Beloit Poetry Journal, published in support of the Split this Rock Festival and presenting work of festival poets.  As in many poems of provocation and witness, numbers provide the specifics that pin down the message.  (See also poetry by Festival Director Sarah Browning in the February 5 posting.)

     Someone is Up     by Minnie Bruce Pratt

     The snow's like boulders on this block, before dawn,
     one heavy-coated person walking in the road, a man
     coughing, two children waiting for the school bus,
     two houses with insulation stips and no siding,
     two with blue tarps and no roof, two For Rent signs
     on this street of workers living behind what's left,
     oppulent facade of another century, the stained glass
     shining now lavender, yellow, blue, someone is up
     in the subdivided houses, the black metal envelopes,
     mailboxes counting two four eight apartments,
     four of the houses boarded up, three empty, and
     on the last, plywood seals off the bottom windows.
     But on the second floor, lights come on, someone is
     up in the half-condemned house.  The snow counts up.
     The talk-show pundits say, Things are better!  But here
     we see the bust after every boom that means our jobs
     and lives exploding, the dust settling like snow
     on our shoulders, like cement around our feet.

Minnie Bruce Pratt
Creative Commons 2012
Attribution/Non-Commercial/No Derivs

Writers Denny Shaw and Katherine Silkin will join me (JoAnne Growney) in presenting a panel workshop at Split This Rock Poetry Festival at 11:30 AM on Saturday, March 24. This panel -- entitled "Counting On" -- explores the uses of numerical information in poetry. Hope to see YOU there.

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