April 2014: O, Miami Poetry Festival

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“O, Miami.” The mission of the festival is for every single person in Miami-Dade County to encounter a poem during the month of April. Since its founding in 2011, the festival has hosted performances by Anne Carson, Raúl Zurita, W.S. Merwin, Patti Smith, Richard Blanco, Tracy K. Smith, Thurston Moore, Kevin Young, and many others

Picnic in the Park/Poets Laureate in the Park (Sat., April 5)
O, Miami Poetry Festival partners with New World Symphony and the City of Miami Beach to present a new kind of live poetry reading in Soundscape Park. Former U.S. Poets Laureate Robert Hass and Kay Ryan will join National Book Award-winner Nikki Finney for an intimate reading inside the New World Symphony, while a crowd will watch the reading for free in Soundscape Park as it’s live-projected onto the 7,000 square foot wall of the symphony. From 5-8 p.m., enjoy free music and performances in the park. At 8 p.m., spread out your picnic blanket and enjoy the “biggest” poetry reading in the history of Miami.

Poetry Karaoke with Annick Adey-Babinski (April 12)
Come show off your poetry reading chops at Poetry karaoke, our night of off-the-cuff poetics. Even if you never memorized The Waste Land, our DJ has you covered with her lyric videos, so you’ll never miss a owr.d Read with the greats! Bust out your Shakespeare chops or go contemporary w/ a Plath poem, you choose from our Karaoke men. BYOB baby- it’s a house party!

Speaktacular -Ashley M. Jones & Darius Daughtry (April 17)
Poetry. Music. Dance. Visual Art. All of these are elements of SPEAKtacular, a full-scale production that combines these art forms in a one-of-a-kind show. Youth poets from the Jason Taylor Foundation’s Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network will dazzle and inspire with their words as musicians, dancers, and visual artists create and express alongside them onstage. Event organizers and poets Darius and Ashley M. Jones.

Free workshop for Miami student editors (April 19)
Don Share, Executive Editor of the largest circulating poetry journal in the country, Poetry magazine, leads a free workshop for Miami-area student literary magazine editors. Share will also read his own work the following night (April 19), in addition to his translations of the great Mexican poet Miguel Hernandez.

Zine Fair (April 19)
Zines are magazines made by people who don’t have the money to make magazines. O, Miami honors the long tradition of D.I.Y. publishing in Miami with a day-time zine fair in partnership with Pages & Spreads and University of Miami Special Collections. Local artists and publishers will display, trade, and sell their zines. Perrier and KIND will distribute snacks, and the backyard pool at the Edgewater Poetry & Athletics Club will be open.

The First-ever LitCrawl Miami (April 26)
O, Miami drags the popular literary pub crawl series into the humidity. Bars and clubs on South Beach will host a variety of boozy performances by Miami-area writers from all genres and styles during a night that will test your Bukowskian pretensions. Leave your elitism at home, and bring along a designated driver.

Forager Book Release (April 29) Brand-new Miami-based publishing imprint Jai-Alai Books unveils their first book: Forager: A Brief Guide to Miami’s Edible Plants. Co-presented with Edible South Florida. 

ONGOING EVENTS DURING THE MONTH OF APRIL 2014

The Edgewater Poetry & Athletics Club (April 1-30)
A partnership with The Related Group, the E.P.A.C. is a two-story house that O, Miami is transforming into a community wellness center for the month of April. Spiritually depleted? Physically lethargic? Come to the Edgewater Poetry & Athletics Club during the month of April for poetry readings, water aerobics, yoga, meditation, zine fairs, and games of pick-up basketball. 

The Poetry Lottery (April 1-30)
Artist Agustina Woodgate and poet Mary Reufle have joined forces to create the Poetry Lottery: a scratch-off lottery ticket that works like an erasure poem in reverse. Use a penny or your fingernail to unveil the words of an original text by Reufle. Reveal the whole thing, or co-create a new poem with Reufle by picking and choosing which words to uncover. The tickets will be distributed only in Miami-Dade County during the month of April. 

#ThisIsWhere (April 1-30)
Co-created by O, Miami and WLRN, #ThisIsWhere is a poetry contest that asks South Floridians to write short poems about the places they care about. Beginning the last week of March, WLRN will accept submissions of short poems that include the phrase “This is where…” Every Friday, WLRN will announce the top ten poems of the week on their website. On April 23rd, a list of finalists will be announced who will read at a special event on April 30th. Some contributing poets will appear on WLRN radio and WBPT2 TV. Go to WLRN.org for more info on how to enter.

Living with Poetry (April 1-30)
“Living with Poetry” draws inspiration from Nicanor Parra’s antipoesia and anti-poems in order to create an experience that draws from visual, literary, and spoken poetry. The project consists of a space created by the Guatemalan-based collaborative BIP (Bureau of Public Interventions) at O, Miami’s Edgewater Poetry and Athletics Club. BIP is a collaborative project by Stefan Benchoam and Christian Ochaita that originated as a direct response to the lack of public spaces and infrastructures for recreation and socializing in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The interventions and occurrences that they organize can be read as Situationist gestures that generate reflection and debate about their city.

Fire Dreams- Matt Roberts and poet Terri Witek (April 1-30)
When we walk through cities, our bodies enter the dreams of other people who’ve walked there. New media artist Matt Roberts and poet Terri Witek map Miami by floating assorted “dreamers” over various metropolitan spaces. City wanderers then follow this walkable dream map via an augmented reality phone app. Along the way, they are offered chances to see a dream, hear dream-poem, text a dream-poem of their own, and perform various other transmittable acts. These become a poetic dream map of the city. 

Poet-in-Residence at Gramp’s Bar (April 1-30)
Wynwood’s favorite watering hole Gramp’s will host thirty one-day residencies for poets. Miami-area poets may apply on-line with a short line of verse about booze. Each poet will be given the last stool at the end of the bar. For each poem written on a cocktail napkin, the poet will receive one free beer (limit three beers). At the end of the month, Gramp’s will create a zine from the month’s worth of poems.

People Poetry with Quinn Smith (April 1-30)
Mining the vastness of Twitter, to create poetic alchemy, the project starts by reviewing Twitter with a search term Miami, taking one posted picture & a series of tweets, and then arranging those tweets into a poem. Standard computer software is enough: 1). Place the poem on the pix w/PowerPoint 2). Create the image w/Microsoft Paint 3). Hashtag it #omiami w/credits for everyone who feeds that contribution. This project is open to anyone.

A Funeral Procession for Juan Gelman (April 1-30)
To commemorate the death of Argentine poet Juan Gelman, artist Jordan Marty will drive through every single neighborhood playing a bilingual recording of a previously recorded reading by Gelman of a fictional American cowboy’s laments in (The Poems of Sidney West) poetry via a short-wave transistor radio. 

This is Just to Say…. Elena Errazuriz (April 1-30)
Passers-by during the midday pause at a college campus are invited to read The Red Wheelbarrow/This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams. When ready by a variety of people, the poem is given the gift of each reader’s pitch, inflection, rhythm. 

Poetry Spoke Cards - Elsbeth Pancrazi & Brett Fletcher Lauer (April 1-30)
A spoke card is a printed card suspended in the spokes of a bike wheel, historically to identity the cyclists’s participation in a street race. This unlikely platform has since been used to display small works of art to political endorsements. Award winning designer Gabriele Wilson will work w/ poets Brett Fletcher Lauer & Elsbeth Pancrazi to create spoke cards printed w/poetry to be distribute free at O, Miami events & local bike shows, & through participating cycling groups. The cards will be a badge to id poetry lovers, & an eye-catching unexpected encounter w/ poetry.

Home- Beyond Geography- Juana Meneses & Leila A. Leder Kremer (April 1-30)
Home: Beyond Geography is a participatory writing project created by interdisciplinary artists Juan Meneses and Leil Leder Kremer. The project explores the identity of our port city, mapping Miami’s resident’s personal histories. During the month of April, Juana & Leila will visit- armed with pens paper, maps- different Miami Dade neighborhoods with an opening line to poems around the themes of identity, home & mobility. Juana and Leila will prompt those they meet to respond to the poems, which will be collected, copied & distributed to residents during subsequent visits to other districts. The result- a poetry exchange between Miami Dade residents A selection of the poems collected, and a map showing the participating neighborhoods, will be compiled into a zine to be available for free at the conclusion of the project.

The Last Ride of José Martí (April 1-30)
An homage to the continued significance of the life and work of Cuban poet and revolutionary José Martí. Actor Ivan Lopez—dressed as Martí—will ride down Calle Ocho on the back of a white horse and distribute roses outfitted with Martí poems.

Bite into Poetry - Willa Kaufman and Elizabeth Jacobs (April 1-30)
Mother/daughter team from New Mexico, Willa is a senior film & creative writing student at University of Miami, and Elizabeth is the founding director of The WingSpan Poetry Project in Santa Fe, which brings weekly poetry classes to the women residents at the Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families. Elizabeth taught for many years in public elementary schools as a teaching artist with ArtWorks. She is the author of Her Knees Pulled In, a book of poems.

Road Sage- P. Scott Cunningham (April 1-30)
Consistently ranked among the top 15 most congested cities in the country, Miami is a place where people are used to sitting in traffic. “Road Sage” is an O, Miami project designed to give those people something to read while stuck in their cars. The project has 2 main locations: 1). Biscayne Blvd & NE 22nd St & 2) NE 79th St and TBD.

The Biscayne location features a stanza from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s “Sonnet XLIII) in the original Spanish, written on the windows of a building by a Haitian sign artist. “Sometimes my fiancé Christina is driving home on Biscayne Blvd,” says O, Miami Executive Director P. Scott Cunningham, and “she’ll honk as she’s passing beneath my office window. Most times, however, the honks I hear below me are expressions of anger, or “road rage”. So I decided to write a love poem to Christina on the window that could also serve as a general message for everyone on Biscayne stuck in traffic and trying to get home to someone they love.” The second location features a poem called “Flamingoes” by American poet Todd Boss that can only be described as “So Miami.”

Anonymous Letters- Christina Pettersson (April 1-30)
Much has been reported recently on the death of handwriting, in terms of hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, as a link between handwriting and learning ability, even creativity. For instance, handwriting has been proving as a better tool for imprinting words to memory that typing. In “_______” Miami artist Christina Pettersson will create a space where visitors can choose a poem from a book, copy it by hand onto stationary and then mail it to an unknown person in Miami-Dade chosen randomly out of the White Pages. “I do hope to reintroduce the beauty of knowing lines of poetry by rote, as people once did,” Pettersson says. “And what unexpected pleasure to receive such a letter in t he mail, lovingly conceived and written, certain to be remembered.”

Pin-Up Poetry at ArtCenter/South Florida (April 1- 30th/Reading April 13) 
Poets are invited to push-pin their poems onto the walls at the ArtCenter/
South Florida at 800-810 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. Poets and all artists can do this with original poems or poems that inspire them (proper credit given). The poems can be on any kind of paper including post-its, photographs or drawings and put up with a push pin. 

Poetry Readings with 
* Under the Influence with Cathy Bowman (April 2) Miami poet Campbell McGrath hosts a night of influences with visiting poet Cathy Bowman and UM’s Jawinder Bolina. Each poet will present poems that have influenced their work. 

* Stephanie Strickland, Denise Duhamel, Julie Marie Wade (April 7) Poet Stephanie Strickland reads from her work and exhibits digital experimentations with web-based literature. Miami poets Denise Duhamel and Julie Marie Wade co-star. 

* Poetry & Race with Jaswinder Bolina (April 10) A panel on the topic of race as it intersects with contemporary American poetry, with examples. 

* Don Share (April 19) 

Cuban, Cuban-American, Spanish, and Chicano poetry
Readings, discussions, and workshops with: 
* Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Prize-winner José Kozer (April 9) 
* Spanish poet Elena Medel (April 16) 
* Local Miami poet Yosie Crespo with Cuban poet Legna Rodríguez Iglesias in her first visit to the US discussing Generation Zero, a new crop of Cuban and Cuban-American poets (April 23) 
* American Book Award-winner Jimmy Santiago Baca (April 27).

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