Celebrate National Poetry Month by Getting Involved with O, Miami 2015

Kick off National Poetry Month which begins on April 1, 2015 and ends on April 30, 2015 with O, Miami Poetry Festival. The festival which began in 2011 and is sponsored by the Knight Foundation, aims to have every single person in Miami-Dade County encounter a poem during the month of April. Being a Palm Beach County resident myself, Iast year I still managed to get in on the action by following the hashtag #LunchPoems.

Coffee, please

Coffee, black
Eyes, red
Unpacked luggage
Firmly planted underneath
Thoughts of bed,
Leaves drool forming
at crevice of mouth

-Lawrence Jean-Louis, 2012

Since its founding, O, Miami has hosted performances by Anne Carson, Raúl Zurita, W.S. Merwin, Patti Smith, Richard Blanco, Tracy K. Smith, Thurston Moore, Kevin Young, former US Poet Laureates Robert Hass, Kay Ryan, and many others. This year’s opening event, which includes beer with ticket purchase, is the Miami River Poetry Cruise… “a journey into the Heart of Dade-ness, guided by locals, protected by pythons, and serenaded by some of Miami’s best poets in a round-robin, ‘tour-guide’ format invented just for this occasion”.

So how can you participate, you ask?



    • Find your favorite event and attend any of more than 30 currently scheduled in the 30 days of April, with more being added.

      • Want to see your poem on a popsicle in April? Submit a short poem to POETRY POPS by March 16th. Click here for detailed directions. POETRY POPS was created by artist Randy Burman, the brains behind 2014’s Department of Poetry Works program.
      • Read a poem at O, Miami Host Hotel The Betsy-South Beach. Each day in April, two poets will be featured as part of The Betsy’s annual Soapbox reading series, which brings lyricism to Miami Beach’s Ocean Avenue. Click here to apply.
      • Gramps Bar & O, Miami present the 2nd Annual “Poet-in-Decadence” Writing Residencies. Every night in April, one poet will be given the last seat at Gramps Bar as that evening’s Poet-in-Decadence. For each poem written on a cocktail napkin and handed to the bartender, the poet will receive one beer. 21+ only. By signing up, poets agree to take public transportation, taxi, or ride-share to their residency. Apply here.
      • Write an ode to your South Florida zip code! O, Miami and Knight Foundation are partnering with WLRN to see who can write the best ode to their zip code before the end of April. The judge is Richard Blanco, who read at President Obama’s 2nd Presidential inauguration. For rules, a description of the form, and submission instructions, head over to wlrn.org on March 21, 2015 when the contest goes live.

    • Kayak Poetry Workshop
      • Join award-winning poet Michael Hettich for a kayak trip and poetry workshop out on Biscayne Bay. There are two different dates, April 9th at 4:30 p.m., leaving from Miami Beach, and April 11th at 9:30 a.m., leaving from Morningside Park. Sign up required.
    • Walking Workshop
      • Miami-born nonfiction writer Nathan Deuel, author of Amazon Book of the Month Friday Was the Bomb (Dzanc, 2014), leads an unusual outdoor workshop. Follow Deuel on a Walking Workshop through an entire Miami neighborhood, learning how to see and how to record what you see. There are two dates: April 25th and 26th in Miami Beach and Kendall, respectively. Sign up required.
    • Poetry Texting
      • This two-hour writing workshop is organized around the communicative act of texting. We will use this collaborative, compact and spontaneous form of communication to create “text poetry” of our own. Participant pairs will text lines back and forth, creating a collaborative poem of questions and responses, using selections of contemporary poems from Jim Moore, Louise Gluck and Pablo Neruda to focus on the use of questioning as a device in poetry. Maximum 20 participants. Sign up required.
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