"Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private."Allen Ginsberg.
The secret is out: Miami is no longer lacking in the written word or the world of creative wordsmiths. This time of year is a motherlode of venues to express one's inner-ness. O, Miami! will be holding its sixth annual poetry festival, blanketing the city with haikus, limericks, free verse and sonnets. Make yourself available for readings, listenings or any combo you can manage. Expand your breadth of knowledge of the spoken word.
April 1 (through April 30) kicks off with a litany of events for O, Miami's Poetry Festival. Produced by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundationand O, Miami, this festival runs for one month "with a mission of every single person in Miami-Dade encountering a poem," sez the web site. A lofty goal indeed.
An entertaining teaser link to get you in the mood:
In the beginning: P Scott Cunningham was yet another South Florida young 'un in the mid 1990's headed for a bigger life, never to return to his arts dreary home, when fate thought otherwise. After a mere seven years away from the palm lined boredom of his native South Florida, Cunningham was boomeranged back to Miami's shores in 2003 only to discover that life had indeed infused itself onto the cultural landscape in his absence and he thankfully stuck around to add another chapter to our burgeoning tome.
Cunningham scored a Knight Foundation grant and here he is, seven years later with a genuine cultural hit on his hands. 2011 was the debut of O, Miami!. It imbues a selection of multi-disciplinary events into the mix luring in the unsuspecting future poetry aficionado along with the already indoctrinated masses of poetry lovers.
Festival founder Cunningham is still on board and waxing lyrical about his inspirational spawn. "What has surprised me the most is how people take ownership over the festival. Even though I love poetry and believe in its power, I guess, in my heart of hearts, I doubt that other people have the same feelings. Yet every April I'm proven wrong, and always in new ways, whether it's a poem someone submitted over the radio or an unexpectedly large crowd at an event. I want people in Miami to feel that O, Miami! is their festival, that it belongs to them, and yet it still surprises me when people feel that way."
O, Miami! Poetry Festival projects abound as ennui is overcome with enthusiasm in a variety of surprises. Motivational moments may assault you from bus stops around the county as haikus are placed strategically in your daily path. Walking your best friend may find you waxing lyrical as the doggy refuse bag you dutifully brought along spouts a bit of poo-etry. (Yes, you may groan and eye roll here.)
You have to pay closer attention to MD transit passes, hotel door handles, city busses, the Colony Theater marquee, gas pumps, etc, as we're poetically overtaken on all fronts.
Our very own Miami artist Typoe will have a piece of his work visible from the MacArthur Causeway. He currently has an installation in a Faena hotel elevator called (are you ready) "Elevate."
If you eschew poetry as an ethos you are bound to thoroughly enjoy a night of truly bad poetry, to underline your pleasantly blackened soul. Or perhaps a soupçon of Comedy Night featuring Joe Pera from Late Night with Seth Myers.
- Visit www.omiami.org/festival/ for detailed and updated information on events and projects.
- Or follow them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/omiamifestival
Events you may want to put in your calendar right this minute:
- 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, April 1
North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Avenue, poetry reading by Patricia Smith, Aja Monet, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, Afrobeta
- 10 a.m. to noon, Sunday, April 2,
The Betsy-South Beach, 1440 Ocean Drive, "Someday I'll Love Myself", a workshop with Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
Ticket required: www.omiami.org/events/2017/4/2/someday-ill-love-myself
- 7:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 4,
O, Cinema! Miami Shores, 9806 Northeast 2nd Avenue Miami Shores, "A Late Style of Fire": Screening and Q&A
- 7 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, April 5,
The Betsy-South Beach, 1440 Ocean Drive, celebrate the release of Nick Makoha's Resurrection Man, winner of the 2nd Annual Toi Derricotte & Cornleius Eady Chapbook Prize, presented by Cave Canem Foundation
- 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 7
Primary Projects, 15 Northeast 39 Street, 2 Poetry 2 Ferrari, poet Dave Landsberger is shooting a poetry-themed remake of 2 Fast 2 Furious with a reading and party at Primary Projects
- 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 8
Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Family Day at PAMM...with a Poetry Bus!
- 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 9
Coral Reef Park, 7895 Southwest 152nd Street Palmetto Bay, a Day of Thrones, Year Two team competition
Sign up info: www.omiami.org/events/2017/4/9/day-of-thrones-year-two
- 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, April 13
The Betsy Hotel, 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Three of Britain's best young poets
- 7 to 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19
Drinkhouse: Fire and Ice, 1672 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, a poetry/essay submission project about our misconception of love and desire, as told to us by R&B artists Boys II Men. The submission process will take place over the course of the first two weeks in April and the winning writers (10-15) will have the chance to read live at "Humping Around,"
Go ahead, dare to participate:www.omiami.org/events/2017/4/19/hump-day-an-evening-of-rb
- 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday, April 22
The Lowe Art Museum at University of Miami, 1301 Stanford Drive Coral Gables, is holding the Miami Zine Fair 2017, the original and largest collection of Florida's indie publishers
Apply as a seller: www.omiami.org/events/2017/4/22/miami-zine-fair-2017