If someone approached you on the street and asked if they could film you reading poetry, would you say yes? Answer honestly. In fact, don't bother answering. We already know the truth. Because when Toronto-based How Pedestrian tried to get Miamians to read poetry on film this weekend, about 90% of you said, "No way, Jose."
With the manifesto of "bringing poetry out of bourgeois sitting rooms and back into the pubs and taxis where it belongs," How Pedestrian is in town this week for O, Miami. This past weekend, the video bloggers brought verse and a camera to the beach and Lincoln Road. But with nine out of ten people refusing to read, it turns out that our denizens are a little more camera shy (or poetry shy?) than those in other cities. Por que, Miami? Gato got your tongue?
In How Pedestrian's blog post, they report:
"In my first Miami session, my usual
success rate of 90% became my failure rate. ... Luckily, there was one
category of people on the beach that never said no -- whether they were
selling water or renting lounge chairs out to tourists, I had a 100%
success rate with service people, and I am so grateful to them for
taking time out from work to save my first day of filming in Miami."
Here's a video of one such service person reading a poem about old people by Joan Murray:
And it looks like things improved somewhat when How Pedestrian took to Lincoln
Road. They convinced this lady to read a long poem about the Miami Heat:
We're hoping folks' resistance to reading verse online has little to do
with poetry and more to do with overblown fears of the Internet. (Honestly, the chances of some troll editing clips of you
reading Walt Whitman to make you look like you're condoning bestiality are simply very slim.) We're giving you the benefit of the doubt, Miami. Do
some vocal excerices and take part in one of How Pedestrian's remaining
O, Miami events. Here's where to find them this week:
Monday: University of M: Olympic athlete Lauryn Williams & President Donna Shalala
Tuesday: Downtown: Bayside, Library, County Hall, MDC
Wednesday: Little Havana: marionette artist Pablo Cano, Mario Ernesto Sanchez
Thursday: Chef Michelle Bernstein, North Miami DMV & Airport
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Friday: Community Activist Marlon Hill
**The above schedule is tentative. For updates, check How Pedestrian's Twitter, @HowPedestrian.