Q: What do you get when you bring together activists, poets, artists, educators, passionate people, and powerful words?

A: Split this Rock 2010.

Held for the first time in 2008, the goals of the Split this Rock Poetry Festival 2010 are, according to their website, twofold: first, “to celebrate the poetry of witness and provocation being written, published, and performed in the United States today” and “to call poets to a greater role in public life and to equip them with the tools they need to be effective advocates in their communities and in the nation.”

Why does AID care?  Art is a powerful tool for social justice. 

Art has the ability to communicate where policy papers can’t.  But perhaps most importantly, the same imagination that it takes to envision a more socially just world draws on the same creative energy that it takes to create art.  They are processes, and being able to work toward something that does not yet exist is at the heart of both endeavors.

For the rest of this weekend, I’ll be attending various STR events and reporting back in semi-dispatch semi-reflection form.  The festival includes everything from workshops to open mics and featured readings, so I’ll certainly have lots to share.

To get you excited, last night kicked off with youth poetry and a reading event at Bell Multicultural High School featuring one of my all-time favorite poets: Andrea Gibson.  She is utterly brilliant.  My words can’t really do her justice, so it’s a good thing I filmed her.

Stay tuned for the next STR update, How to Throw Your Own Open-Mic Night, a very practical post.