O, what’s in a name? A poetry festival by any other name would recite just as lovingly, rhythmically, thoughtfully, profoundly, funkily, or – well, I think you get the message. O, Miami has been sweet.
Whether you realize it or not, poetry is simmering on a front burner these days. Poem in Your Pocket Day is a national event that takes place on April 18 smack dab in the middle of National Poetry Month. PIYP began in New York City in 2003 and, embraced by the Academy of American Poets, went national in 2008, permitting people throughout the country to get their bard on. With support from groups like the National Writing Project, Figment, the Office of Letters and Light, myriad events have sprung forth everywhere.
The result? The United States has resuscitated what many have seen as a patient on life support. Coffee houses, bakeries, libraries and schools from sea to shining sea are in on the act. And we here in Miami? We are buried in couplets, verses, sestinas, limericks, haiku, sonnets, odes, paeans and idylls as O, Miami makes another biennial appearance. Its basic goal? For each Miami citizen to find a poem.
Produced by the University of Wynwood and founded by Peter Borrebach and P. Scott Cunningham, he who still produces it, O, Miami, in partnership and sponsorship with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami-Dade County, City of Miami Beach and The Betsy Hotel, aimed to weave poetry into the fabric of the region during this month of April.
It’s all massively ambitious, and if you are tuned in to Miami’s artistic activities in even the most remote way, you might encounter a reading, an open mic, a fused ballet performance or a trilingual spoken word onslaught somewhere through the end of the month. To borrow the words of one of my own personal favorite poets: We got poets in the livin’ room gettin’ it on and they ain’t leavin’ ’til 6 in the mornin’.
On April 24, there will be pop-up poetry at 800 Lincoln Road and rocking poetry at Churchill’s in Little Haiti. On the 25th, there is a performance/conversation at FIU’s Wolfsonian. On the 26th at the Freehand, you can get a tattoo along with a poem and a cocktail. The 2012 Kingsley Tufts Award winner Chase Twichell and deeply cool Miami-Dade professor Dr. Michael Hettich read for the dogs on the 27th at The Betsy in a benefit to convert all Miami-Dade animal shelters into “no-kill” facilities; this event is one of several at the Betsy that evening. The festivities conclude on April 28 with an event at the New World Symphony Hall where 2013 Presidential Inaugural poet Richard Blanco, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and NBC’s Megan Amram read aloud in the New World Symphony Hall. Given we live in Miami, there is also an after party — make that O’fter Party — on the beach.
Like Macbeth, you might consider that life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more or that it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. If so, you really might want to make your way to some of these activities in order to be inspired to put your anguish to everyday use.
Details can be found here: www.omiami.org.
Carl Rachelson is a teacher at Palmer Trinity School and a regular contributor to the Pinecrest Tribune. He may be contacted by addressing email to firstname.lastname@example.org