Art

O, Miami: A Month of Verse In Our Paradise of the Perverse

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"We typically do our biggest event at the end of the month and we're doing it at the beginning of the month this year," noted P. Scott Cunningham, founder and director of O, Miami. "It's on April 5th at Soundscape Park at the New World Symphony, and it's the first time anyone's done a poetry wallcast, in the same way the City of Miami Beach shows movies on the wall and the symphony does their wallcasts of their concerts. We have two of the biggest poets in the United States reading, and it's going to have the same in-depth, multiple camera angle production-level feel that you get with the New World Symphony, but with poetry."

When Cunningham says "two of the biggest poets in the United States," it is a statement wholly devoid of exaggeration. The two poets in question are Robert Hass and Kay Ryan - both of whom are former Poet Laureates of the United States. For those unfamiliar with the significance of being named the nation's official poet, other former laureates include Robert Penn Warren, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, Rita Dove, and Maya Angelou.

If not one but two Poet Laureates weren't enough, there will also be a reading by National Book Award Winner, Nikky Finney. Put quite simply, if you can make your way to Soundscape Park on April 5th, you are going to hear some extraordinarily talented writers filling the grounds with some incredibly lovely words, and you will not be disappointed.

The month-long festival will pepper the whole metropolis with poetic celebrations big and small, and some promise to be pretty damn colorful. On a yet-to-be-decided day in April, actor Ivan Lopez will ride a white horse down Calle Ocho dressed as Jose Martí and hand out roses with poems penned by the famed Cuban poet and national hero. Imagine, if you will, the joy of seeing a man dressed in a fine black suit and sporting a well-kept mustache ambling along Calle Ocho on a white steed, handing you a rose and a poem before he continues to ride deeper into heart of Little Havana.

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Travis Cohen is a writer for Miami New Times and covers subjects ranging from arts and architecture to marijuana and monkeys with herpes. He graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor's degree in English in 2012 and began working with New Times shortly thereafter. He was born and raised in Miami.