O, Miami Wants to Know How You Want to Engage with a Poem! (And we need to know by Oct. 21)

Written By Josie Gulliksen
October 12, 2016 at 1:51 PM

O, Miami Wants to Know How You Want to Engage with a Poem! (And we need to know by Oct. 21)

By Lisa Palley, Palley Promotes

Sucking a poetry pop, munching down on a poetry sandwich, encountering a poem in thevEverglades, looking up to the sky and seeing a poem, listening to a poem from the dais of the Miami City Commission, Miami-Dade County School Board or from the federal court bench…these are just some of the ways O, Miami engages our community with a poem.

The O, Miami Poetry Festival, sponsored by Knight Foundation, has as its mission to distribute a poem to the millions of us in Miami-Dade County during the month of April, National Poetry Month. Whether you hear a poem on the radio, break open a fortune cookie and find a poem,notice suddenly there is a poem sewn inside the shirt you picked up at Goodwill…. These ideas and opportunities were created by us, the community, to engage others with poetry. O, Miami really does wants to hear the what other innovative ideas you have about engaging our community with a poem. O, Miami is game.

And they really are. For O, Miami founder and director Scott Cunningham,what gives him pause, and brings a smile to his face are the “memorable, unusual, and, especially the creative ideas.

“Luckily, I have a lot of favorites. I’ll stick to last year’s festival just to narrow it down, and right now, I’m remembering how much fun it was to hand out poetry prescriptions at Jackson Memorial; to paint poems on rooftops with artist Randy Burman; and to watch Joint Studio”print” poems into the sand on Miami Beach using a custom-made text roller.

Jose Martí delivers white roses & poems on Calle Ocho during O, Miami 2015

“I also always look forward to our partnership with WLRN because we get to read poems by people from all over South Florida and the level of quality is unbelievably high.”

Between now and Oct. 21, O, Miami wants to know how you want to engage your friends,and everyone else in the community with a poem.

“We’re always looking for projects that delight and surprise us and have a specific audience in mind. Our goal is to reach everyone in Miami-Dade County,” explained Scott. “And if there’s any lesson to be learned from O, Miami, it’s that people will always surprise you if you let them. The point of the festival, if it has one, is that everyone has imaginative capacities. Everyone, in other words, is a poet. I always think, reading over the projects, ‘Well, that’s a great idea but it will never happen.’ And then it does.

“One example is Sandra March’s Poetry Today, a daily newspaper we distributed in the West End of the county last April. We folded and bagged 20,000 copies of the paper, and then the artist/performer Randy

Garcia hand-delivered them, on foot, every weekday in April to random homes and apartments.He ended up losing eight pounds in the process, in case anyone is looking for a weight-loss idea.”

Please visit to share your ideas, because the O, Miami Poetry Festival wouldn’t happen without everyone sharing their ideas contributing a little creativity. “It’s a privilege to do this festival in South Florida,” said Cunningham. “We have an incredible community of people who care about the arts and who believe that the arts belong to everyone.”

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