O, Miami Poetry Festival

April 2013.

Artist Augustina Woodgate surreptitiously sews poetry tags in clothes at Goodwill Photo courtesy of O, Miami Poetry Festival
O, Miami Poetry Festival returns in 2013 to once again attempt to deliver a poem to all 2.6 million+ residents of Miami-Dade County during the month of April.

Created by University of Wynwood with founding sponsor the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, O, Miami is both a celebration of contemporary poetry and an experimental project to turn a metropolitan area into a canvas for the literary arts.

In 2011, O, Miami flew poems behind airplanes, dropped them out of helicopters, sewed them into clothing, and attached them to every single bus in Miami-Dade County. They produced events with actors (James Franco); choreographers (Jonah Bokaer, Rashaun Mitchell); artists (Anne Carson, Sam Winston); and, yes, poets (W.S. Merwin, Tracy K. Smith, Raúl Zurita). The festival was covered nationally and internationally by The New Yorker, NPR’s Morning Edition, Dwell magazine, Best American Poetry, and the Associated Press, and chronicled in a new Knight Foundation report.

“Poetry is a living, breathing force that can light up the city. O, Miami is its platform. The written word leaves the printed page for a parade on South Beach, morphs into interpretive dance in Hialeah, and along the way helps art become part of people’s everyday lives,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. At the conclusion of the 2011 festival, The Miami Herald asked, “Will we ever see another month so full of poetry?

The answer is, Yes!

This April, O, Miami will present a brand-new series of projects, interventions, and events that will once again re-imagine what’s possible in the presentation of contemporary poetry, including:

-A special celebration with Thurston Moore, lead singer of Sonic Youth; Richard Blanco, the Miami-raised poet who read at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration; and Megan Amram, a poet, comedian, and writer for the NBC show Parks & Recreation!

-A final weekend, hosted by The Betsy Hotel-South Beach, that will feature readings and performances from the most diverse group of poets we’ve ever assembled, including Kevin Young, Chase Twitchell, Jean Portante, Jose Angel Leyva, Eduardo C. Corral, and Frank Báez.

-A book called “That’s So Miami!” published by you, the people of South Florida. Send us your poems that begin or end with the phrase #ThatsSoMiami and we’ll play them on WLRN 91.3 FM, post them online and select the best ones to go into the book.

-“Poetry is Dead”: the first-ever poetry parade on South Beach featuring performances by well known dead poets.

-A special “local poem” displayed pasted on 100 lampposts banners throughout Miami-Dade County.

-Poems written by South Floridians flown behind airplanes.

-Brand-new “poetry films” commissioned from and created by the geniuses behind the Borscht Film Festival.

-A Tatoo + Poetry Night featuring legendary tattoo artist Duke Snyder.

-A new dance + poetry piece by Merce Cunningham alumni Rashuan Mitchell and Silas Reiner commissioned and created for O, Miami.

-An opening ceremony with Miami legend Trick Daddy

-The first-ever Miami Literary Trivia Night.

-An open mic reading series for locals.

-A “poetry soapbox”: everyday at 5 p.m., a poet will read on the front steps of The Betsy Hotel.

-A poetry-themed flash mob.

For a taste of what’s to come this April, check out the multimedia report on the inaugural festival, describing how O, Miami made poetry compelling in one of the country’s most diverse cities. The report, commissioned by Knight Foundation, is available at www.knightarts.org.

O, Miami, University of Wynwood
800 NW 7th Avenue
Miami, FL 33136

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