After Miami's own Richard Blanco took the podium at Obama's inauguration earlier this year, our pretty city definitely scored itself a little more cred when it comes to the written word.
Lucky for those of us who are into literature, after a one-year absence, the O, Miami Poetry Festival is coming back to the Magic City. And yes, there will be Blanco. Thurston Moore, poetry flash mobs, dead poets, contests, and tattoos, too. It's kind of like a poetry-palooza.
"The point of the festival is really to reach people who normally wouldn't care or normally think they wouldn't care. In my experience there are a lot more people out there that have some connection to poetry than they're willing to admit," says P. Scott Cunningham, one of the festival's founders and the man behind the University of Wynwood.
So, to get you excited for this tribute to the art of iambic pentameter and its various brethren, here are 10 of the coolest things going down at O, Miami in March and April.
10. Lamppost love
100 lampposts across the county will broadcast a secret "local poem" from April 1 through 30.
9. Big screens
They'll showcase poetry flicks commissioned from and created by some of the creative minds behind the Borscht Film Festival, including Lucas Leyva, Jillian Mayer, and Julian Yuri Rodriguez. The films will be circulated online and at least one will be screened on the night of the final reading, April 28.
8. Open Mic action
Locals will have the chance to sign up to take the stage on two different nights. Now's your chance to show off that 7th grade love sonnet you spent a month of your life working on... The nights will kick off at 7 p.m. at the BBar at The Betsy-South Beach on April 4th and April 14th. To sign up, email email@example.com with the subject heading: "OPEN MIC."
7. Big names
Thurston Moore, lead singer of Sonic Youth; Richard Blanco, Miami's 2013 Presidential Inauguration poet and Megan Amram, poet, comedian, and writer for Parks & Recreation will all be front and center at New World Center on Sunday, March 28. There'll also be poems from emerging poets, poetry films, and other surprises.
6. Soapbox speeches
Everyday at 5 p.m., a poet will read one of his/her own poems, and one that influenced htem on the front steps of The Betsy Hotel in South Beach. If you wanna be a potential poet, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading: "SOAPBOX."
5. Flash mob
At a secret locale, poetry enthusiasts will gather en masse for some read-aloud action. Email email@example.com with the subject heading: "FLASH MOB" if you're interested in getting involved.
4. Poetic ink
On Friday, April 26, tattoos will pair with poetry at The Freehand -- all in conjunction with legendary ink master Duke Snyder and poet Tom Healy. Basically, according to Cunningham: "Tom Healy + Kevin Young. Cocktails + Poems + Food + Tattoos."
3. Poem coasters
In partnership with a local poet, there'll be drink coasters featuring five different poems from an assortment of contemporary poets. One side of the coaster will have the poem in English, the other en Espanol.
2. Crowd-sourced brilliance
South Floridians will have the chance to get their literary works of art immortalized. A That's O, Miami! book will aggregate poems by locals. Writers will be able to submit their poems via Twitter with the hashtag #ThatsSoMiami or online. You can also submit pics via Instagram with the same hashtag. and they'll be read on WLRN 91.3 FM, posted online and the best of the bunch will go into the book.
1. Dead poets on parade
On Sunday April 28 at noon, you can don duds as your favorite dead poet and head to Lummus Park. At different spots along the parade route, local groups like Front Yard Theatre Collective and Emerge Miami will bring a dead poet back to life for the crowd. Zombie poets. Awesome.
So even if you don't consider yourself a poet, there's something at O, Miami you're likely to dig.
"I find that almost everyone I meet has some weird connection to it. Those are the people that I'm really interested in reaching with the festival. I'm trying to re-position the art form as something that is relevant to contemporary society," Cunningham adds.
The O, Miami Poetry Festival will run throughout the month of April (and a little bit of March) at various venues across the city. Check out the Knight Foundation's recap of the 2011 event here, and get more info on the festival's website.
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