If the organizers of the O, Miami Poetry Festival have their way, every one of Miami-Dade’s 2.6 million residents will be delivered a poem this month.
Some will be flown on banners behind airplanes, others painted on the bodies of models, displayed on the sides of buses and buildings, and shouted from every corner of the county.
Launched in 2011 by the University of Wynwood with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, O, Miami is both a celebration of contemporary poetry and an experimental project to turn a metropolitan area into a canvas for the literary arts.
"Poetry is a living, breathing force that can light up the city. O, Miami is its platform. The written word leaves the printed page for a parade on South Beach, morphs into interpretive dance in Hialeah, and along the way helps art become part of people’s everyday lives,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation.
In its third year, organizers have continued to use the festival to tap into the diversity of South Florida through a series of readings, film screenings, flash mobs, trivia contests and cultural events that have attracted thousands in the first three weeks.
The local LGBT community will be highlighted on Sunday, April 28 at 12 noon in a special reading at B Bar at The Betsy-South Beach, 1440 Ocean Dr.
Frank O’Hara Prize-winner Stacey Waite will join South Florida poets Julie Wade and Neil de la Flor for a reading at the festival’s host hotel.
“The event will be fun, for sure, and give the audience three different LGBT perspectives because we, the LGBT community, are a diverse community with unique experiences and these experiences inform our work, our writing,” explained de la Flor.
The poet also emphasized the benefits of the festival on a rapidly changing Miami landscape. He cited the rise of Art Basel, the Design District and development of Wynwood on the visual and performing arts scene. Now, he said, O, Miami is helping to make Miami a literary place, too, a “better place.”
If You Go
LGBT + Poetry, O, Miami Poetry Festival
Sunday, April 28, 12 Noon
1440 Ocean Dr.
More info at OMiami.org