Poetry Today—Delivering Good News to West Kendall

Added on by Melody Santiago.

If you’re a resident of West Kendall, no doubt you’ve received a little something extra on your lawn in the mornings—and no, it’s not from your neighbor’s dog. O, Miami is spreading the good news about local poetry through its Poetry Today project. Throughout the month of April on each weekday, West Kendall residents receive a mini edition of the poetry-themed newspaper, each focused on a different neighborhood in Miami. There will be 20 editions in all, distributed to about 700 homes each day, featuring a total of 110 lyrical greetings from neighborhoods as diverse as Coral Gables, Allapattah, Liberty City, and Wynwood. Select editions of the paper will also be distributed during other O, Miami events this month.

Nicey Jones (local actor Randy Garcia) delivers Poetry Today newspapers to the residents of West Kendall very weekday in April. Photos by Gesi Schilling. 

Nicey Jones (local actor Randy Garcia) delivers Poetry Today newspapers to the residents of West Kendall very weekday in April. Photos by Gesi Schilling. 

With the help of coordinating artist Sandra March, O, Miami held a call for local poets to submit a poem about their neighborhood to be included in the project. “The idea was to create a local newspaper, a dialog between neighborhoods that could be enjoyed in our more culturally neglected neighborhoods. We chose West Kendall because not many cultural events are held there; they often have to travel to places like downtown Miami, Miami Beach or whatever, to enjoy cultural events. So in a metaphorical way, O, Miami was able to go to West Kendall, and bring some culture as well.”

Each neighborhood edition, designed by Sandra, a native of the Catalonia region in Spain, has a 1,000-copy run, and features a special tropical design theme unique to that area, including its own particular plant. “I like the colors of Miami, and also the plants—the area has a lot of tropical nature. I wanted to celebrate that, so that’s why I designed the poems with the plants, to emphasize the organic nature of both.”

The Coconut Grove edition, for example, features a cover proudly displaying its signature denizen, the peacock and is adorned throughout the issue with lovely representations of Spanish moss. Inside, poet Sarah Trudgeon describes her perspective of the area:

Way high up for Miami, the usual distortion:
I’m taller in the empty lot’s burnt grass
with groceries and no shadow;
heavier in my dark apartment, small as an egg.
There was never a grove.
An insurance man draws a map.

If we had more editions like these, maybe the newspaper business wouldn’t be struggling so much.

Clidiane Aubourg is a writer living in Miami, Fl. She will be contributing blog posts for O, Miami Poetry Festival 2016.