There are a lot of things Miami does wrong -- particularly when it comes to our
lack of cultural substance. But this city is also capable of utterly awesome and unique endeavors, an example of which is O, Miami, a cool, classy tribute to the written word.
This festival originally kicked off in 2011, skipped 2012, then came back with a blaze of glory earlier this year. And now, according to founder P. Scott Cunningham, the interactive poetry extravaganza is officially becoming an annual event.
See also: O, Miami Food Poems: #thatssomiami
Past events have included names like Miami artist Agustina Woodgate, inaugural poet Richard Blanco, and even the king of all things offbeat, James Franco. Participants have done everything from sew poetry into thrift store clothing to march as dead poets in a parade to print poems on drink coasters and place 'em in bars.
Now, the O, Miami team has released an RFP for proposals for next year's festival, which means it's your chance to send in a wild and wacky concept of your own. As far as guidelines, your prospective project must conform to their mission, take place in April 2014, have a specific target audience, and include sophisticated strategy for photo and video documentation -- so it's saved for posterity. Otherwise, almost anything goes.
"As you can probably tell from the stuff we did before, we like wild and different. It just makes it more fun, honestly, and it I think it's more effective when it's something people aren't used to, especially in regards to poetry," Cunningham says. "We're always fighting the stereotype of poetry being something from school that people aren't engaged with anymore."
In previous years, the crew mostly sought out participants themselves, he adds. But this year, they figured they'd cast a wider net.
"We've had a few really great experiences with people coming to us and we didn't know who they were. But they came to us with an idea or project and it turned out to be fantastic and it made us think -- who else is out there?" he says.
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Their aim is to reach every citizen of Miami-Dade County with a piece of poetry. And, if we had to guess, we'd say they came damn close with their April event, which made its mark all over the 305 with a whopping 37 events and 18 projects.
So put those thinking caps on, Miamians -- and let your inner poet run free.
All proposals for O, Miami 2014 are due by midnight on December 30, 2013. You can check out the full RFP online here.