Fans of poetry gathered in Miami Beach’s SoundScape Park this Saturday to picnic, browse through books from stands provided by Bookleggers and Books & Books Independent Bookstore, and stake out the perfect grassy spot to experience the (first ever!) Poetry Wallcast, which started at 8pm on the side of the New World Center and featured 2011 National Book Award winner Nikky Finney and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass.
In the hours before the Wallcast began, people enjoyed live music from the New World Symphony’s “house band” Somewhat Hungover, free snacks and long-stemmed roses from KIND, and fun-with-words with jumbo Bananagrams. A variety of food stands, including House of V, My Ceviche, Lalatina, and Feverish Pops, served up good eats.
O, Miami volunteers and Oscar Fuentes (“The Biscayne Poet”) typed up poems on vintage machines. The Bass Museum was present with its Monumental Paper Chain project, which invited participants to write messages of peace and inspiration and then add them to a giant paper chain. At 7 pm volunteers wearing single word t-shirts lined up amidst much laughter and stumbling to assemble Kay Ryan’s poem Still Start.
By 8 pm when the Wallcast began the park was packed with people eager to hear poetry. O, Miami founder Scott Cunningham kicked things off with a brief introduction, which was followed by the world premiere screening of filmmaker Kayla Delacerda's short film To Capitalist Poem #5—an adaption of a poem by Campbell McGrath.
As dusk deepened into dark, fireflies flitted across the night and Nikky Finney appeared on the 7,000 square foot screen, followed by Robert Hass. The sounds of Miami Beach on a Saturday night were mixed in with the clear words of the poets, and people could be seen closing their eyes to take it all in.