Split This Rock Poetry Festival Features Forum on Indigenous Poets, Genre, and Native Lit

The Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation and Witness is happening this weekend in Washington D.C. and will feature an Indigenous Poets, Genre, and Native Literature session on Friday. This four-day event which brings a diverse array of poets and writers covers many different topics, themes and issues. Native poets and writers are included in the discussion on Friday at the Human Rights Campaign Room 105c from 11:30-1pm. The forum features Heid Erdrich, Eric Gansworth, Deborah Miranda, Trevino Brings Plenty, and Karenne Wood. 

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Native American/Indigenous poets perform work that fuses genre, to cross and bridge cultures. Indigenous resistance asserts itself in poetry that crosses genres to expand Native Literature through line, lyric, and poetics that meld with music and moving images. Our voice performances speak from urban and reservation lives, from distinct nations—for those who are silenced. The poets will perform and engage listeners in a talk back session. We are Lakota, Ojibwe, Onondaga, Esselen and Chumash, and Monacan. We come from all directions to share our visions and make our histories and presence known.

Linda Hogan will also be present and taking part in a later session on Friday from 4pm-5:30pm to help preview a new anthology of eco-justice poetry called Ghost Fishing.

Poets in this session will give a preview read from the forthcoming Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthologyand participate in a Q & A about eco-justice poetry. Aligned with environmental justice activism and thought, eco-justice poetry defines environment as “the place we work, live, play, and worship.” This is a shift from romantic Western notions of nature as a pristine wilderness outside of ourselves, toward recognizing the environment as home: a source of life, health, and livelihood. It is poetry born of deep cultural attachment to the land and poetry born of crisis. It is recognition that the fate of the land is connected to the fate of people. Recent linguistics studies show that the most bio-diverse parts of the world are also the most culturally diverse. In places where biodiversity is threatened, linguistic diversity and culture are also threatened: current thinking in conservation acknowledges the connection between culture and environment. And yet, many western nature anthologies are monocultural. Ghost Fishing brings together a culturally and stylistically diverse collection of poets and poems to expand environmental consciousness.

Hogan will also be participating in a reading and book signing on Sunday.

There are several more events and forums held throughout these four days that sound amazing, with most of the events focusing on diversity and writing. This is my first time hearing about the festival, but it's something that writers should consider attending in the future.