Ten O, Miami Poetry Festival Events to Catch This April

Day of Thrones is one of this year's unmissable O, Miami events.
Day of Thrones is one of this year's unmissable O, Miami events. Courtesy of O, Miami/Gesi Schilling
The first day of the month marked April Fool’s Day, Easter Sunday, Passover’s third day, and National Atheist Day. It was also the beginning of National Poetry Month and, for Miamians, the O, Miami Poetry Festival. The fest's monthlong programming of events and participatory interventions aim to expose every resident in Miami-Dade County to a poem in April. It’s a pretty lofty goal, but the O, Miami team has been hard at work to create plenty of fun and accessible poetry happenings that will make it easier for you to get in touch with your inner poet this April.
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Piper Mahoney of Leading Poetically.
Courtesy of O, Miami/Leading Poetically
1. Leading Poetically: An Evening of Poetry & Pooches. If you’re in need of some TLC this month, get your fill of puppies and poetry at this open mike led by Piper Mahoney and her dogs. You can profess your love for your pup through rhyme with him by your side onstage. All voices are welcome, so this is the time to show off your canine companion’s new “speak” trick you’ve been waiting to debut. 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 2, at Tea & Poets, 5701 Sunset Dr., #126, South Miami; 786-216-7201; Admission is free. 
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Courtesy of O, Miami/Check Out a Poet
2. Check Out a Poet. Welcome to a “human library” experience, where instead of checking out a book, you can “check out” a poet for 15 minutes. The events are hosted at various Miami-Dade public library branches, where participants can rent a local poet onsite for some one-on-one time. You can request the poet to read, inquire about their work or themselves, or even ask them for feedback about one of your poems. Afterward, you’ll have to return them based on the time on your check-out slip, and you’ll have a photo op. O, Miami encourages curious minds to ask the poets anything but requests that refrain from taking them home. Various times and library locations throughout April. Visit
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Courtesy of O, Miami/Poetry in Pajamas
3. Poetry in Pajamas. Getting your kids dressed to go out is a never-ending struggle. But parents are in luck, because at Poetry in Pajamas, the suggested dress code is pajamas and slippers. Hosted at Miami Beach Botanical Garden by poetry lovers 9-year-old Sam, 6-year-old Simon, and their mom, the family-friendly open mike is staged in a giant bed. Kids of all ages can recite poetry, jam out to a performance by Afrobeta, and snack on milk and cookies. As your little ones grow sleepy, they can be reassured of good dreams as they look at fiber artist Kandi Stirman’s Dreamcatcher installation under the giant banyan tree. Sweet dreams, indeed. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 6, at Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; 305-673-7256. Admission is free with RSVP via

4. The Suspect Device: A Comics & Poetry Workshop.
 At O, Miami’s first comics workshop led by recent Miami transplant and comics artist Neil Brideau, people of all ages can learn how to make a one-page comic. Participants will randomly choose a classic comic panel from a pile, which will serve as inspiration for their own stories and drawings. The workshop will teach how comics, poetry, and abstract storytelling all come together. Maybe you’ll witness the birth of the next superhero character at the workshop. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at Suniland Books & Books, 11297 S. Dixie Hwy., Pinecrest; 786-552-3290. Admission costs $5, and RSVP is required via

5. That’s Not My /NEIM/: A Name-Reclaiming Workshop.
If you don’t have a perfectly conventional name, you might have a “foodonym,” a simpler moniker you give baristas and take-out servers so they don’t butcher your real name when they call out your order. Name-butchering victim and artist and graphic designer Elia Khalaf wants to help Miamians vent their name-derived angst through this experiential workshop, where participants can submit their true names, aliases, and name-related anecdotes in exchange for a free cup of latte art. They will also be given coffee sleeves where they can print whatever name they want, however they want. This is the best way to stick it to those Starbucks baristas who mess up the spelling of your name on purpose. Workshop 1, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at White Rose Coffee, 6246 SW Eighth St., West Miami. Admission costs $5, and RSVP is required via Workshop 2: Part of the Miami Zine Fair, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Ter., Miami; 305-960-2969. Admission is free.
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Courtesy of O, Miami/Club Jewel Box
6. Club Jewel Box. In this adults-only collaboration with the film and drag series Flaming Classics, visitors can celebrate queer culture and expression through a curated multimedia show of queer avant-garde film and live poetry. Six selected films from the '40s to the '80s, including works by Andy Warhol and Kenneth Anger, will be interspersed with readings by local poets. The name "Club Jewel Box" is a reference to one of Miami’s earliest queer clubs, which closed in 1950. Visitors can also expect performances by King Femme, Ded Cooter, Kunst, and Jupiter Velvet, plus a slew of alcoholic beverages. Club Jewel Box has it all: vintage queer films, drag performances, booze, and poetry readings. 8 to 11:59 p.m. Friday, April 13, at National Young Arts Foundation, 2100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-377-1140. Admission costs $5 with RSVP via
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Courtesy of O, Miami/Cash Flow
7. Cash Flow. Miami tourism is synonymous with money, including cold, hard cash. In this project, Ashley Moncrieft stamps 12 short poems onto dollar bills and circulates them in neighborhoods with cash-centric, high-traffic businesses such as Miami Beach, Little Havana, Overtown, Little Haiti, West Kendall, Homestead, the MiMo District, Hialeah, Westchester, South Miami, Coconut Grove, and Wynwood. If you find one of the poetry-emblazoned dollar bills, show off your golden ticket on social media with the hashtag #CashFlowMiami. If you’re not lucky enough to snag one of the lyrical dollars by chance, don’t fret: The project will host a pop-up currency exchange April 15 at the Miami Zine Fair, where you can “purchase” poetic bills of your own to keep or distribute. Various locations throughout April. Cash Flow Pop-Up at Miami Zine Fair, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Ter., Miami; 305-960-2969. Admission is free.

8. I Know Why the Nick Cage Screams.
 In a riff on the title of Maya Angelou’s first autobiography, this performance, produced by Melissa G Gomez and the Front Yard Theatre Collective, is an ode to hyperbolic action star and Francis Ford Coppola's nephew Nicolas Cage. The collective provided New Times a sneak peek of the poetry to come: “A free man screams with a dominant stance/For alphabet to be honored.../For the bees to freed.../For the bunny to be boxed.” Superfans as well as haters of Nicolas Kim Coppola are invited. 6 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Olympia Theater Lobby Lounge, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; Admission is free.
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Courtesy of O, Miami/Sangam Rice Dinner
9. Sangam Rice Dinner. Sometimes the best way to express your love for delicious food is through ode. In this poetry-infused South Indian dinner, Anita Sharma, owner of the Miami-based Indian meal delivery service Annam, hosts a six-course meal that guides guests through the history of ancient Indian Sangam poetry, which dates to 300 BCE. Sangam poetry describes the importance of rice and agriculture in daily life during the Iron Age in southern India. Guests can expect to learn about various ways of preparing, cooking, and eating rice while listening to rice-inspired poetry by South Indian Tamil poets. 7:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Miami Shores Community Church, 9823 NE Fourth Ave., Miami Shores. Tickets cost $85 via

10. Day of Thrones.
 Summer is coming. At this third-annual Game of Thrones-inspired event, kids 5 and older and adults can pledge their allegiance to a house and become victorious by winning physical and mental challenges. Think of field-day-style games mixed with brain games — including tug-o-war, bobbing for tropical fruit, a potato-poetry-sack relay race, and trivia and memory games set to tunes spun by DJ Hottpants — and a seemingly endless supply of food from local vendors. If you’re anticipating separation anxiety for the final season of GoT next March, you won’t want to miss this epic battle. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 22, in Margaret Pace Park, 1745 N. Bayshore Dr., Miami; Five dollars guarantees a spot in the games and a team T-shirt.
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Minhae Shim Roth is an essayist, journalist, and academic.
Contact: Minhae Shim Roth