Friday November 1, 2013 from
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM EDT

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812 7th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001

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Split This Rock

Please join Split This Rock & The CrossCurrents Foundation as we present the inaugural Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism to:

Eliza Griswold
for her work collecting & introducing the folk poems
of Afghan women to America

Photo: Antonin Kratochvil

Photo: Antonin Kratochvil
Photo: Antonin Kratochvil

Friday, November 1, 2013
Goethe Institut
812 7th St, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Reception * Awards Ceremony * Reading

With special performances by the DC Youth Slam Team

Cosponsored by the Goethe-Institut Washington and the Institute for Policy Studies

Tickets $25/students $10

Sponsorship opportunities available. Contact: (202) 787-5210

The Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism, sponsored by the CrossCurrents Foundation, recognizes and honors a poet who is doing innovative and transformative work at the intersection of poetry and social change. The award, judged by Martha Collins, Carlos Andrés Gómez, and E. Ethelbert Miller, is being given for the first time in 2013. Finalists for the award are Jorge Argueta, Elana Bell, Tim Z. Hernandez, and Wang Ping.

Eliza Griswold received a Guggenheim Fellowship for her ongoing work on water and poverty in America. Her first non-fiction book, The Tenth Parallel, was awarded the Anthony J. Lukas prize and was a New York  Times bestseller. Her poetry and reportage has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, among many others. She’s held fellowships at Harvard University and at the New America Foundation. Her collection of reportage and translations of Afghan folk poetry, I am the Beggar of the World, will be published in the Spring of 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux with a second collection of her poems to follow. 

In 2012 Griswold began traveling to rural Afghanistan with the photographer Seamus Murphy to collect landays, two-line folk poems written and recited by Afghan women. The landays, Murphy’s photos, and Griswold’s writings about the experience have introduced rural Afghan women – an otherwise invisible population, despite more the than 10 years our two countries have been entangled in war – to American readers and television viewers. Poetry Magazine devoted an entire issue to the landays and published Griswold’s long essay on the documentation project, with photos, on their website.  She’s written about the project for the NYTimes Magazine and it was profiled on the PBS NewsHour.


Split This Rock calls poets to the center of public life and fosters a national network of socially engaged poets. Its programs integrate poetry into public life and support the poets of all ages who write and perform this essential work.

The CrossCurrents Foundation promotes social, environmental, and economic justice, focusing where it believes private funding can make a strategic difference to public education campaigns about critical issues. Effective and socially relevant public art is part of its overall effort to increase civic participation.