There is something eternally energizing when people come together to create, share, engage in and be touched by art. April is National Poetry Month, and O, Miami, our very own month-long poetry festival, is about to begin. Here are a few of more than 40 O, Miami events and projects that will help you encounter and make poetry wherever you go.
Miami River Poetry Cruise
“Booze and Poetry. There’s really no better pairing”, Says Melody Santiago Cummings, operations manager for O, Miami. We agree, so we teamed up with O,Miami pairing to create the ultimate Miami sunset poetry booze cruise.
All aboard, tourist-residents! Witness a tear fall in your Biscayne Brewing Beer as sailor-poets play yo-yo with your heartstrings and serenade our beloved Miami-Dade. Witness that cotton-candy sunset as you hit the cash bar, to contemplate and decide, once and for all, “Casablancas or Garcias?”
Your ticket Includes entry to the Official After-Party and a cocktail at Toro Toro once we dock. Public Street and Garage Parking is available. Plan to use transit, taxis, or rideshare services if you are going to drink.
Think if you’ve seen it all with Cruise #1? Think you’ve bought that t-shirt? No, my dears, we’ll have a whole different crew onboard our poet’s ship on Cruise #2.
O, ral Records
Live Performance, April 26, 2015 at the Young Arts Campus
Life blossoms daily on the Miami Dade public transit system. A tired old man gives up his seat on the bus to a young, pregnant girl. You feel the elation as you cram into the Metromover during Book Fair. Celebrate the “TSCH TSCHEEE” exhaust of buses or the tipsy winemakers giving away samples on the trolley, or even the occasional shark on a train story.
Created by Buskerfest, the folks who work year-round to improve our civic life through public performance, O, Ral Records shares Miami-Dade residents’ life-affirming public transit tales. With the help of the Miami Dade County Transit, Buskerfest is collecting inspired oral and written stories from riders and workers on Metrorail, trolleys, trains, buses and Metromover. You can even submit your own transit tales for a couple more days.
Five stories will be spun into original performance pieces (dance, theatrical sketch, songs, or poetry) by some of Miami’s most compelling artists, to show how life can be delightful when you ditch your car and become a public transit user.
Throughout the festival
If you’re out and about at O, Miami events this month, you might just get popped. And, yes, that’s a good thing.
Last year, Randy Burman, or “O, Burman,” as the O, Miami team fondly calls him, stopped you on your tracks with his Poetry Traffic Signs. This year, The Mastermind 2015 winner, brings wonder and joy to O, Miami via all-natural strawberry and mango poetry popsicles. They’ll be given away at O, Miami events and to “anyone on the way and back who look like they need a treat.” This piece of performance art will make you feel like a kid again.
Wallace Freezins, inspired by poet Wallace Stevens and played by local actor/comedian Randy Garcia, is a storybook character who finds popsicle making equipment in his grandmother’s attic and is inspired to share the refreshing fruity delights with Miami-Dade residents. Denizens submitted more than 200 poems for the project, and 120 will wrap Eccolo Pops hand-made, naturally-flavored Italian ice treats.
Cease and Exist
Through April 20
Know people who complain that Miami is “nothing like New York or L.A.?” Anyone refreshing their Instagram feed a little too often? Somebody way too pale to claim a Dade County zip code? Send these people an official Cease and Exist letter, on company letterhead, from the Law Offices of Williams Carlos and Williams; a white shoe law firm, specializing in telling people, well … to get a life.
The letters can be sent by anyone, but addressable only to residents of Miami-Dade County. For this play on “cease and desist” letters, O, Miami has paired with local attorney, poet and new dad, Quinn Smith, who is penning letters urging Miamians to terminate uninspired behavior. The poet initially thought he would get letters directed at celebrities and public officials, but he’s been surprised at how personal the letters are — sometimes funny, sometimes grim. He said he’s genuinely enjoying the project, and trying to stay true to the requesters’ tone and goal.
Your post will be mailed in the month of April and signed by Affidavit Thoreau. Fill out this form and pay a small $5 donation to O, Miami for shipping and handling.
Poets in Decadence
April, Gramps Bar, 176 NW 24th St Miami, FL 33127
That girl/guy scribbling something on a cocktail napkin is not slipping you their number, they’re trading poetry for beer. Each Poet in Decadence is assigned a day to sit at the last seat at the bar at Gramps, where they will receive one beer for each poem they pass on to the bartender. Stay tuned, after the drinking’s done, there’s a publishable collection in the works. We suggest you drink along with the Poet In Decadence, but only if you, like the rhymesters, have agreed to take public transit or arrange a designated driver, cab, or car service.
The Outdoor MFA: Walk West (on Kendall Drive)
Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., US1 & 88 Street at Dadeland Station
Nathan Deuel, DASH alum, Miami expat, writer and author of Friday was the Bomb, (DISQUIET, May 6, 2014) and a band of Miami writers will soldier on a Hero’s Journey — west, on Kendall Drive, an area “we usually blow through in a car, or make fun of as a suburban wasteland.” The former Rolling Stone writer will guide the group in making observations that they will turn into stories and poems.
“I grew up in Miami, riding the bus from Palmetto Bay to DASH in Allapattah (now Design District). Riding the bus and observing the city is where I learned to make connections — to be an adult thinker and writer,” Deuel said.
Walk West is one of four Outdoor MFA Sessions — two walking and two kayaking adventures to get your creativity flowing. Bring a pen, paper, or a portable electronic writing device of your choice. It’s Miami, so stilettos are optional, but Louboutins are preferred.
Weren’t born yet? No worries, The Kampong, edible South Florida, O, Miami, and poet Michael Hettich have your back. Hettich has curated an event to celebrate the small group of writers who planted the seeds for our literary scene in the 1980s — despite riots, boat lifts and Cocaine Cowboys.
Period cocktails (We’re hoping Tequila Sunrises, Electric Lemonades, and Harvey Wallbangers) will be served along with dishes from Miami Vice-era restaurants. Tropical fruit skewers will cool down a hot shoulder pad, leotard and leg-warmers, and perma-prest twill wearing crowd. You don’t have to dress to impress in your ’80s best, but not playing along might be unpoetic of you. For wardrobe inspiration, check out some Que Pasa USA episodes, Cannonball Run, Olivia Newton John, or Pat Benatar videos.
For ticketing, parking and more information on the many other projects we couldn’t fit into this brief preview, visit the O, Miami site at omiami.org.
Leticia de Mello Bueno, who grew up with Miami, is a cultural atacheé for Eater’s Rights and distinctive epicurian-isms and all things that inspire us to live like we live here. She helps produce gastronomic content and projects that move the city’s food culture forward.