April is almost upon us, which means a litany of literary experiences is less than two weeks away. The annual monthlong poetry festival O, Miami is back for 2017, and the lineup is impressive.
This year's fest will feature a poetry-by-prisoners project, a Metrorail poetry partnership, a comedy night, and an array of other irreverent events and projects. Festival founder P. Scott Cunningham, a former New Times staffer, gives the scoop on some highlights.
Here are six can't-miss O, Miami experiences:
1. Metrorail reading
Public transportation is about to get a lot more interesting. Lucky riders will get a little poetry as part of their daily commute. "We're collaborating with the county in various ways," Cunningham says. "We’re putting a poem in three languages on the Metrorail single-rider Easy Tickets. I don't think they'll last all of April, but they'll probably last a few weeks."
Poems will be available at various Metrorail locations throughout April.
Have a dog who digs the park? Then there's a solid chance you'll run across a poem on a poop bag. "We’re promoting the Parks Department and putting poems on free poo bags," Cunningham explains. "It'll happen at six parks." So leash up Fido and turn a mundane task into an enriching experience. "This way we'll reach a group of people we would probably never hit otherwise."
Poo-etry bags will be available throughout April at Amelia Earhart Park, Haulover Park, Tropical Park, West Kendall Park, Perrine Wayside Park, and Miami-Dade Animal Services.
3. 2 Poetry 2 Ferrari
Poet Dave Landsberger is shooting a poetry-themed remake of 2 Fast 2 Furious. Yes, really. And the film shoot will culminate at Primary Projects, where Landsberger and guests will read poems in tribute to the Fast and Furious franchise — and dearly departed actor Paul Walker — while sitting inside a white Ferrari 458 Spider. "We'll publish a limited-edition zine, there'll be Paul Walker RIP poems, things of that nature," Cunningham says.
The event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 7, at Primary Projects. Admission is free.
4. Comedy night with Joe Pera
When people ask Cunningham about the one O, Miami event they must attend this year, he tells them comedy night. "It's our first comedy event," he says. "It's with Joe Pera, who’s been on Late Night With Seth Meyers. Esquire mag named him one of ten comedians to watch. He is really, really funny, and I think he's going to be really huge." It's also Pera's first visit to Miami.
The event runs from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at Sandrell Rivers Theater. Tickets cost $6 in advance, $11 at the door.
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5. Bad poetry
Poetry isn't all seriousness, and the hilariously terrible stuff also has a place at O, Miami. This night is dedicated to just that, and bad poets are welcome to submit their works via email to the event's host, Judson Wright (BadPoetrySlam@gmail.com) for the chance to read 'em in front of a crowd. Costumes and props are encouraged.
The event runs from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Artistic Vibes. Admission is free.
6. Poetry by prisoners
"I'm really psyched about View-Through. We're trying to rewrite Google SEO for the term 'Miami inmates,'" Cunningham says. "Instead of [Google] coming up with the prosaic stuff it normally does, it'll auto-complete with poems by the prisoners. The work these men and women write is incredible; it's really amazing." The endeavor is a big one, and the O, Miami team needs everyone's help to make View-Through happen. Anyone who wants to participate can visit the festival website's projects page, read the text of the poems, and then type them into Google.
Throughout April. Visit omiami.org.