Meet Caridad Moro-Gronlier, a community-driven poet and educator

📸 Photo courtesy of O, Miami

Hi Caridad! What keeps you busy here in town?

I am a Dual Enrollment English professor for MDCPS/FIU, an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College, a community-driven poet, writer, literary curator, and Associate Editor for SWWIM Every Day, an online poetry journal.

What neighborhood(s) are you reppin’?

Reppin’ Westchester since 1977!

What brings you most alive about the 305?

The vibrant arts scene in Miami lights me up on the regular! The 305 is pretty fortunate to have a wide array of events taking place pretty much all year. Whether it’s a poetry reading, an art exhibit, a concert, a play, a new film, or an outdoor festival I just have to check out, Miami keeps me creatively nourished, engaged and always entertained!

What’s your favorite Miami memory?

When my son was about five or six, we went to the beach on Ocean Drive to practice his new favorite thing: the art of “jumping the waves.” It was a perfect beach day, a Chamber of Commerce photo-op kind of day, replete with cloudless blue skies, a delicious breeze to counterbalance the summer heat, and water so clear that I could see the red of my pedicure shining up at me when I glanced down at my feet.

We were splashing and jumping through the surf when my son was suddenly caught in a funnel of iridescent Flying Fish. He stood perfectly still as the fish made a mad dash around his head and torso and I just watched in awe. I don’t remember how long that incredible fish flight lasted, but I’ll never forget the look of wonder on his face, the sound of his delighted laughter as it soared over the roar of the waves, the gift of being fully present during that perfectly indelible Miami moment.

If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A pepperoni and onion pizza (half-baked!) from Frankie’s Pizza. I’ve been eating there for over 40 years (!) and I have yet to be disappointed. In fact, I think I’m going to order some tonight.

Outside of the obvious stop above, share your other top three destinations for where you’d go on your perfect Miami day.

First, I’d hit the beach early to watch the sun rise over the ocean and spend the morning walking on the sand, swimming, and reading by the shore. Then, I’d head over to Books & Books in Coral Gables, browse the shelves for new books, buy a stack, and read through them while having lunch at the cafĂ© there. After lunch, I’d cross the street and take in the latest indie film showing at the Coral Gables Art Cinema. Beach, books, food, and film — that’s what I call a perfect day.

What’s your favorite local social media account and why?

@swwimmiami, because I can’t think of anyone who would not benefit from a daily poem in their life!

If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?

Be kind to one another. Nobody understands the 305 the way we do — shouldn’t we extend the sort of empathy and caring we show our city to the people who inhabit it? Just be nice, bro!

How does Miami help you do what you do or influence your work?

Miami is as colorful a character as any person or setting I’ve ever created in my work, and she makes her presence known in every creative endeavor I take on. Miami permeates the cadence of my speech, my line breaks, my rhythms and rhymes. Miami permeates my work, even when I don’t want her to because she lives in my marrow, and as such, Miami is in everything I do.

If there was one thing you could change, address, etc. about Miami, what would it be?

I’d tamp down the ever-building hostility, intolerance, and political vitriol that has invaded the heart of our city.

What are you looking forward to in 2023?

More poems, more time with people I love, more sunrises, more laughter, more joy.

That’s a wrap on this week’s Locals to Know. Know someone who ought to be featured or would like to be featured yourself? Reach out by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “TNT Locals to Know 2023.” If chosen, you might just see yourself or a friend in a future newsletter.