In honor of our annual MasterMind Awards, which reward Miami's creative talent with citywide recognition and sweet, sweet cash, New Times proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature the 305's cultural superheroes. Want to be a MasterMind? Learn how to enter here, and get your tickets to Artopia March 2, where we'll announce the winners.
74. Yaddyra Peralta
How easily we forget Miami's literary scene. Given the homegrown talent, area colleges/universities boasting some of the best writing faculties in the nation, and the Miami Book Fair bringing the best of the best to the 305, it truly is amazing how the Magic City's writers gets overshadowed by other creatives.
But that's what makes working poets such as Yaddyra Peralta special. An assistant director with the Palm Beach Poetry Festival and adjunct faculty with Broward and Miami Dade Colleges, Peralta teaches writing and literature courses. Born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and raised in Hialeah, he walks the line between Mesoamerican and native cultures and modernity.
"What I've always loved about poetry is the way that it is able to embody the liminal — those hard-to-describe, in-between, or transitional states that exist in the world," she says. "In my own walk through life as a woman and as an immigrant, it has given me the tools to express and understand my experience, as well as the experiences of those that society sees as the 'Other.' Poetry and art in general will be crucial in the coming four years — crucial to sustaining both empathy and dissent."
Peralta has been featured in numerous publications and was most recently among the talents featured in Jai Alai Books' Eight Miami Poets. Miami is already on the literary map even if it doesn't get enough credit, and it is thanks to hardworking poets such as Peralta who breathe daily life into the world of letters, crafting beauty and sanity into this wild city.
List five things that inspire you.
My Brooklyn-born boyfriend Maxwell’s way with words — worthy of poetry.
Poet Terrance Hayes’ innovative use of language and form. Everyone should read his “Wigphrastic."
Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree album, which is largely about grief and mourning — a surprising gem that is in some ways how I will always remember 2016.
What was your last big project?
I took part in this year’s O, Miami poetry festival’s iteration of Portland-based Poetry Press Week. Poetry Press Week showcases new poetry before an audience that includes publishers and editors. The catch is that it is not a traditional poetry reading, so poets do not stand alone behind a microphone reading their work to the audience. Featured poets act as directors or choreographers for a performance of their work, often featuring other readers, or actors, musicians, and at times involving recorded audio and/or video. I chose to direct my family in a ten-minute performance of work that focused on Mesoamerican mythology and colonialism. The chance to direct an audiovisual embodiment of my work allowed me to use a different creative muscle and turned me on to the possibilities of working with video.
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What's your next big project?
I am revising my first poetry manuscript and simultaneously writing poems for the second one.
What do you want Miami to know about you?
I see your ghosts.
What don't you want Miami to know about you?
I just wrote a very personal essay for Episode 22 of the podcast Writing Class Radio. At this point, I am an open book, Miami.
What's one thing you want people to know about Miami?
Despite all the bullshit, the co-opting, the gentrification, Miami is still a nexus of creativity, a palimpsest of Old World and New.