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Beautiful words about the city we love

It’s poetry month, and with O, Miami’s poetry festival taking over everything from Miami-Dade buses to supermarket conveyor belts, we were inspired to dig in and read all the beautiful words poets have written about this beautiful city we live in.

Here are just a few of our favorite words from a few of our favorite poets about our absolute favorite city — Miami. Send us your favorite poems, too.

 

Ted Greenwald was a poet from Brooklyn who lived in New York his whole life. He has authored more than 25 books of poetry, including one entitled “Common Sense” featuring this poem, “Miami,” which was published in 1975.

 

Wallace Stevens was an American modernist poet from Pennsylvania who spent his life as an insurance executive in Connecticut. He’d often travel to Key West, but made a few trips to Miami as well. This poem was written in Miami and was in his first book of poetry. The poem was first published in 1919. (h/t to Nathaniel Sandler for calling this to our attention in his recent piece in The Miami Rail on Stevens’ writings about Miami, poetic and otherwise.)

 

Campbell McGrath is an American poet who was born in Chicago and has taught poetry at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Florida International University. He lives in Miami Beach and teaches creative writing at FIU.

 

Richard Blanco is a poet, public speaker, teacher, and civil engineer and an FIU alum, where he took a class with poet Campbell McGrath. He read his poem “One Day” at Barack Obama’s second inauguration, making him the fifth poet to read at a U.S. presidential inauguration. His family is Cuban, he was born in Madrid, and was raised in Miami.

 

Elizabeth Bishop is an American poet characterized by her ability to precisely describe the physical world. She was raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, and in Massachusetts. In 1938, she moved to Key West, where she lived until 1944. She went on to live in Brazil before teaching at Harvard University.

 

Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian-American novelist and poet. She was born in Haiti, moved to New York when she was 12 and later came to Miami to teach at the University of Miami. Danticat got a degree at Barnard College and an MFA at Brown University. She lives in Miami.

 

Donald Justice was born in Miami in 1925 and studied piano and music at UM before graduating with a degree in English literature. He attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He wrote poetry, occasional short prose memoirs, criticism, essays and an opera libretto. He also taught at University of Iowa, Syracuse University, Princeton University, and UF.