While I was delighted to see poetry discussed in the May 7 Style article “A viral turn for the verse,” I was dismayed that the article included just a passing mention of Split This Rock, the District’s only poetry festival, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last month. (Split This Rock also went completely unmentioned in The Post’s Weekend section and the Literary Calendar.) This year, some 700 attendees from more than 40 states and several foreign countries participated in workshops, panels and free public readings by some of the United States’ most prominent poets devoted to poetry of witness and provocation. (Full disclosure: I was a festival attendee and panel organizer.)
I can testify to the urgent call for poets and poetry to make sense of contemporary America that I’m hearing in my own community, whether we’re talking about the “#MeToo” movement or school shootings or racial bias. Rather than concentrating on a page-poetry-vs. -Instagram-poetry spat within the poetry community, I wish the article had spent more time on the larger questions about the role poetry can and should play in our culture and had paid more attention to the work being done by poets — including most of those quoted in the article, who were in the District specifically to participate in Split This Rock — who gathered here last month to address those questions.
Katherine E. Young, Arlington
The writer is the poet laureate of Arlington.