Poetry still abounds as O, Miami winds down

Over the last month, The New Tropic has showcased some of this year’s most exciting offerings from O, Miami’s 2021 edition. This has included a celebration of all things Star Trek, a workshop meant to help keep wonder alive in your home, and exploring tenderness in turbulent times.

As April comes to an end, so too must this year’s festival. But don’t fret, for celebrating the written word is a lifelong activity, and there’s always next year’s O, Miami. 🤗

With that said, the annual celebration isn’t done rhapsodizing about the written word just yet; as a matter of fact, it’s already brainstorming what it wants to say next year. 🤔 P. Scott Cunningham, the founder and executive director of O, Miami, dished on ways Magic City residents can keep the passion for poetry alive below:

The goal of O, Miami is for every single person in Miami-Dade County to encounter a poem during the month of April. The 2021 festival is almost over, but you still have a chance to encounter, engage, and enjoy a poem!

Taking the bus down south or out west? Make sure you look down at the bus stop on Killian Drive or Sunset Drive. You might notice a sticker on the ground with a phone number. Call the number and hear original poems about the places around you. You might also notice some poems on bus shelters in the Grove. They were written by first through sixth graders who attend Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart — go Cyclones!

Speaking of the Grove, if you’re in West Grove, keep an eye for a short poem on an otherwise unassuming road sign. O, Miami commissioned Roadside Senryu to put up five signs around Miami with original poems. They look very real, so make sure you’re obeying traffic laws and reading the signs around you.

Need an oil change? Might as well get a poem with it. Head over to Leadership Service Auto at 1700 Coral Way in Miami, and instead of your usual oil change sticker, you’ll get one with a poem.

Zip Odes, our annual place-based poetry initiative with WLRN, wraps up on Wednesday, April 28 with an online reading by contributors at 7:30 p.m. A zip ode, if you didn’t know, is a short poem in the form of your zip code, and this reading is always a joyful celebration of Miami through the eyes of Miamians themselves. You can register by following the hyperlink right here.

If you’re in the mood for a beer, take a taste of Salty Consonants. It’s a beverage made by Unbranded Brewery Company in Hialeah and was inspired by a poem written by Miami poet MJ Fievre — O, Cheers! Or maybe you want to send flowers to someone? Dolly’s Florist is designing floral bouquets with poems during the month of April. SWWiM (Supporting Women Writers in Miami) has curated 8-12 different poems that will be published in SWWiM every day and featured in the bouquets.

Craving the irreplaceable thrill of dropping a quarter into a gumball machine? Take yourself over to the Time Out Market Miami on South Beach, and instead of a gumball, have a poem. Written by incarcerated poets in workshops held by Exchange for Change inside of South Florida correctional institutions, these capsules really give readers something to chew on. Another gumball machine dispensing the written word is located in the Design District at Gelareh Mizrahi shop.

Should you find yourself at the Earlington Heights Metrorail station in Brownsville, you might just see a small plaque tucked under the love oaks at the entrance within the vicinity of Beverly Buchanan’s great Miami artwork, Blue Station Stones (1986). The plaque excerpts lines from a poem by Alice Walker written in tribute to the late artist: “How do we make new / And restorative of soul / The old pain? How do we learn / To carry with grace and humor / All that has happened to us?”

Or maybe on Miami Beach, strolling down Lincoln Road, you might be surprised — or maybe not — to see a short poem displayed by Miami New Drama on the Colony Theatre’s historic Art Deco marquee. It was written by a Miami student participating in O, Miami’s classroom residencies. During the month of April, a new poem by a young poet was shared in this space each week.

On the last day of the month, we’re releasing a brand-new publication: Jai Alai Magazine #1. Don’t let the number fool you — this is actually the end of the run for Jai Alai, which started with Issue #10 way back in 2011. The final issue features poems by Miami elementary school kids. We gave each of those poems to a “professional” poet who wrote a piece styled “after” the kid’s poem. Participating poets include New Yorker poetry editor Kevin Young, former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, Atlantic staff writer Clint Smith, and New York Times bestseller list authors Hanif Abdurraqib and Rio Cortez. It’s taking place on Friday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m.; be sure to register right here.

What an April this has been. Miamians, thank you for working with us to share poetry with hopefully every single person here in Miami-Dade County. As for next year… who knows how and where you’ll encounter a poem. That will be up to you, Miami! We collect poems all year-long. Each fall we ask you for event and project ideas. And from there we select as many of these ideas as we can, effectively enlisting 305 residents as co-creators of the festival. Then we incorporate the Miami poems we’ve collected from you into the festival events and projects, broadcasting Miami poems back into Miami. Start thinking of unique ways to share the written word with the Magic City!

More information on O, Miami is available straight from the source at omiami.org as well as Facebook and Instagram.