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Split This Rock Launches New Award for Poetry and Activism

By Harriet Staff

Eliza_Griswold

This inaugural winner of Split This Rock’s new Freedom Plow Award, for work in poetry and activism, is reporter, activist, and poet: Eliza Griswold. Name sound familiar? Griswold recently wrote about a form of Afghani folk poetry called “landays” for Poetry Magazine and for the Poetry Foundation website. (Take a peak here!)

A collection of her reportage and translations from Afghanistan called I am the Beggar of the World will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2014, followed by a collection of her own poetry. Griswold began traveling to rural Afghanistan in 2012, with the photographer Seamus Murphy, to collect landays: two-line folk poems written and recited by Afghan women.

As Split This Rock writes, “The landays, Murphy’s photos, and Griswold’s writings about the experience have introduced rural Afghan women – an otherwise invisible population, despite the more than 10 years since the US invaded – to American readers and television viewers.” A graduate of Princeton University, Griswold’s additional publications include The Tenth Parallel (non-fiction); she received a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work on water and poverty in America.

Split This Rock is a DC-based national organization dedicated to the poetry of provocation and witness.

Eliza Griswold will receive the first Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism on November 1, 6-9 pm, at the Goethe-Institut, 812 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Tickets to the reception and award ceremony are $25 and can be purchased at www.SplitThisRock.org. Made possible by the support of the CrossCurrents Foundation, the award recognizes and honors a poet who is doing innovative and transformative work at the intersection of poetry and social change. The event is cosponsored by the Goethe-Institut.

The Freedom Plow Award, judged by Martha Collins, Carlos Andrés Gómez, and E. Ethelbert Miller, carries a cash award of $3,500 and is being given for the first time in 2013. The judges were deeply impressed by Eliza Griswold’s project, for which she traveled to Afghanistan and collected two-line folk poems called landays – some ancient, some brand new – from Afghan women. The poems were published in a special issue of Poetry Magazine in June and are forthcoming in book form from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Finalists for the 2013 award are Jorge Argueta, Elana Bell, Tim Z. Hernandez, and Wang Ping.

Congratulations Eliza! For more information, visit SplitThisRock.org

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Posted in Poetry News on Friday, October 18th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.