Poetry Projects - 2015 O, Miami Poetry Festival

The goal of O, Miami is for every single person in Miami-Dade County to encounter a poem during the month of April. To achieve this goal, O, Miami produces and commissions projects that bring poetry to new audiences. Projects are listed in alphabetical order.

Created by Betsy Mullins and Neil De la Flor

Arts for Learning (A4L) proposes to bring poetry to students in Coconut Grove in honor of the O, Miami Festival during the month of April 2015. Teen poets working with Teaching Artist Neil de la Flor in A4L’s ArtWorks Internship program will bring their work to elementary students near the ArtWorks home base of the Lewis Arts Studio (101 Grand Avenue).  A4L’s ArtWorks interns will create original poems that they will share with the students in the form of printed postcards.  Neil and the Interns will then lead the Grove students through the creation of an exquisite corpse poem.  Students will break into small groups assigned to an Intern and work as a team to write their own poem using the exquisite corpse model and then share their completed work with the group at large. Visit www.a4lmiami.org for updates and more details.

Cease and Exist
Created by O, Miami and Quinn Smith

So-called “Cease and Desist” letters are sent by lawyers to people in order to stop them from pursuing a particular action ("cease") and to warn them of the potential consequences of continuing that action ("desist"). O, Miami partnered with attorney/poet Quinn Smith to create “Cease and Exist,” a project that sends “cease and exist” letters from the The Law Firm of William, Carlos & Williams to various individuals in order to curb behavior that could potentially lead to poetic unproductivity and/or an unfulfilling existence. The public may also submit ideas for Cease and Exist letters to be mailed during April 2015. Do you know a co-worker putting in too much overtime and reading too little Wallace Stevens? Send her a Cease and Exist letter. Is your brother putting off that backpacking trip through Patagonia? Send him a Cease and Exist letter. Know a public official de-funding an important arts program? Send him a Cease and Exist letter. How? Fill out this form and pay a small $5 donation to O, Miami for shipping and handling. O, Miami will also choose select letters (redacted of personal information) to post on omiami.org. Click here to view samples of Cease & Exist letters.

Created by Vanity Projects and O, Miami

Help O, Miami's mission to reach everyone in Greater Miami with a poem by putting poetry on your fingernails. Like contemporary poetry, Nail Art is a thriving subculture of self-expression. ManiScript celebrates poetry through Nail Art by giving complimentary "poetry manicures" at select events in April. Come to Poetry in the Park on April 12th or Miami Zine Fair on April 26th and sit down for an appointment with a ManiScript artist who will recreate and reinterpret poetry and prose on to your fingernails on the spot. Appointments cannot be made in advance and are on a first come-first serve basis. Participants can have their choice of 2 "flare nails", and there will be a predesigned nail flash to choose from.  The designs can range from literal to loose interpretation of poetry and the poets who make it. 

Message In A Bottle
Created by Jayme Gershen

To explore the emotional effects of migration, Message In A Bottle invites participants to share their insights within the intimacy of one of Leandro Vazquez’s geodesic domes made of recycled plastic bottles. This project will be installed in public places in order to initiate intimate conversations with a variety of Miamians and explore how each of us views change. Leandro Vazquez’s work explores how to change the way we look at building materials such as plastic bottles in an effort to better standards of living, while Jayme Gershen’s work explores ways to change stigmas surrounding those who migrate. The conversations within the dome will explore the emotional impact of changing one’s place, something many Miamians, and many Americans have inevitably faced. The conversations will be recorded to create a dynamic sound piece, which will be used in conjunction with Gershen’s current multimedia work exploring immigrant identity in South Florida.

Created by Ian Thomas

Murinals are poetry murals installed on Miami-Dade urinals by artist Ian Thomas. Using classic gold leaf paint on porcelain, Thomas creates a series of site specific installations that require viewer participation to complete its concept. The exclusively male audience is invited to urinate on a passage of poetry consecrated via traditional illumination methods. By participating in this way, the viewer exhibits an animalistic dominance by defiling something hallowed, while ultimately exposing himself to the poets’ words. This tension of male dominance and vulnerability is what the series seeks to explore. Click here for a guide to all 10 Murinals created.

Created by Kevin Arrow

An Instagram project in which artist Kevin Arrow takes pictures during April of his hand holding various poetry books. On a fully digital format, Arrow's project brings attention back to physical objects and the world that contains them. 

O, My Animals
Created by Melanie Almeder

“I started Early—and took my Dog—”
     Emily Dickinson

The goal of O, My Animals is to enlist dogs, our well-loved companions, as purveyors of poetry. At several events and venues during the month of April, including "Poetry in the Park" and "Dogleggers Mobile Library,"  O, Miamians will be handing out Poetry Dog Scarves for dogs of all sizes. The bandanas, each of which carries a dog-friendly line of poetry by Emily Dickinson, will also be distributed to participating dog grooming businesses in Miami. All Poetry Dog Scarves are free, but we suggest you deepen your interaction with the project by donating to a dog rescue shelter that also trains service dogs for Veterans. Start Early. Bring Your Dog.  Celebrate Poetry!  

O,ral Records
Created by Buskerfest

O,ral Records is a new project that pays homage to the history of oral tradition. The idea is simple: through March, stories will be collected from Miami public transit riders and employees about the interesting things that happen (and have happened) while riding the bus, mover, trolley, train and jitney systems. A selection of the submitted stories will be handed over to musicians, poets, theater groups, and dancers, who will use the story material as inspiration for new creative works. If your story is chosen, you will have the opportunity to meet and work directly with a chosen artist on the interpretation of your story. The new works will be recorded and distributed online and featured in a live performance on April 26th at the YoungArts campus. These stories will live on as part of Miami’s modern-day oral history. To share your story call 305-851-3568 or fill out a simple online form here.

Orchard Villa Elementary School
Created by Laural Nakanishi

This O, Miami project brings a resident poet to Villa Orchard Elementary School in Liberty City. Eighteen 3rd graders take part in poetry workshops throughout the month of April. Students learn and practice poetry writing through a series of interactive games, writing prompts and examples from other children and published poets. The poetry lessons are linked to district-wide learning goals and support classroom learning. The month of poetry culminates with a hand-made anthology, poetry video and community reading for parents and friends.

The Outdoor MFA
Created by O, Miami, with Nathan Deuel and Michael Hettich

Writers Nathan Deuel and Michael Hettich take the traditional writing workshop outdoors. Deuel will lead participants in two experimental “walking workshops” that traverse different neighborhoods in Miami, while Hettich heads out onto the water with two workshops conducted by kayak. All workshops are one session only. Take one or all. Sign up by finding the workshops on our events schedule.

"Plays on Verse"
MicroTheater Miami & Centro Cultural Español

MicroTheater is a theatrical convention consisting of works of less than 15 minutes in length for a maximum of 15 spectators presented in a 20 foot shipping container. Each container represents one theater company. Each work is presented six times, each night in continuous session. For this season of Microtheater, Centro Cultural Español partnered with O, Miami to commission “Plays on Verse.” Visit Microtheater in April on Wednesdays & Thursdays beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5. Parking is $5 with validation. Schedules and more information at microtheatermiami.com.

Created by O, Miami & Gramps Bar

The most famous and sought-after writing residency in the world returns this April, as O, Miami once again teams up with Gramps Bar in Wynwood to offer “Poet-in-Decadence.” Each Poet-in-Decadence residency is one night only. The poet is given the last seat at the bar at Gramps, and for every poem s/he writes on a cocktail napkin and hands to the bartender, the poet receives one beer. (For a short video about last year’s residency, click here.) Each poet is limited to one residency per April. All poets must be +21 and be able to show proper I.D. the night of the residency. All poets, by signing up, also agree to take public transit or arrange a designated driver, cab, or car service.

Poetry Parcels
Created by Aesop

Coinciding with the Australian cosmetic company's Miami arrival, Aesop and O, Miami present ‘Poetry Parcels’. Each limited edition bag is designed with an exterior poem and an interior audio recording by one of three poets: Kay Ryan, Richard Blanco, or Denise Duhamel. The Poetry Parcels are distributed in-store to Miami customers only during the month of April 2015, in order to celebrate O, Miami’s mission of reaching everyone in Greater Miami with a poem. Accompanying the distribution of the gift bags, Aesop will host an O, Miami closing reception at their Wynwood location on April 30th. 

Poetry Parlor
Created by Ana Maria Caballero
Designed by Amanda Finuccio

The Poetry Parlor project sneaks poetry into tabloid magazines found at beauty parlors during the month of April 2015. Specially-made inserts with different poems are “lost” in the pages of magazines in ten beauty parlors in the areas of Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove and Little Haiti. Who will find them? Will they read them? Poetry Parlor features contemporary poems in Spanish, English, and Creole curated by project creator, Ana Maria Caballero. Click here to view a list of locations where you can find a Poetry Parlor poem.

Poetry Pops
Created by Randy Burman

"Poetry Pops" combines the best two things in the world: poetry and ice cream. Throughout April, look for Shel Shiverstein (played by Randy Garcia) at your favorite Miami events and locations. The "Poetry Pop" salesman will be giving away strawberry and mango flavored popsicles. Each wrapper has two original poems locally-sourced from over forty poets. Collect them all! Click here to read all of the poems featured on the popsicles.

Secret Sonnets
Created by Emily Nostro and Connor Grey

It is estimated there are 58,000 residents of Miami-Dade County who are visually impaired, but only a fraction of those use braille. Braille readers are often marginalized due to the lack of accessible materials available to them. "Secret Sonnets" brings attention to a beautiful and important code that allows the visually impaired to read.

From March 16 to April 10, send a short poem and the Miami-Dade mailing address of its intended recipient to Secret Sonnets and they will translate the poem into braille and send it to that address, along with an alphabet card that will explain the project and how to read the poem. The poem being submitted should be an original body of work, fourteen lines or less, and the intended recipient must be a resident of Miami-Dade County. From April 11-20, 2015, the poems will be transcribed into Braille and checked for errors; beginning on April 21, 2015, the brailled poems along with the alphabet card will be mailed to their intended recipients using the United States Postal Service. Included will be a link to a website with the transcribed poems. Click here to view a sample of what comes with a Secret Sonnet. 

SUBMIT HERE beginning on March 16, 2015.

Soapbox Poetry
Created by The Writer’s Room at The Betsy-South Beach

The Writer’s Room at The Betsy invites poets to participate in the 2015 Soapbox Poetry Program. Each weekday, two invited poets will gather on the veranda at The Betsy at 5pm to read two poems: one of their own and one written by someone they admire. At the end of the month, all participants are invited to read again during a culminating reading in The Betsy Alley Way at 14th Court, between Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. To apply, fill out this form.

United by Our Rough Edges
Created by O, Miami and Amanda Finuccio
In partnership with the InterContinental Hotel & Eric Schoenboern

O, Miami partners with the InterContinental Hotel to present “United by Our Rough Edges”, a celebration of Miami’s culture and diversity. Using the InterContinental’s unique array of public screens and displays, “United by Our Rough Edges” pays tribute to Miami’s poetic character through a number of different iterations. On the hotel’s two giant external LED displays, O, Miami presents a series of short poems and excerpts, including 20th Century Imagist poet H.D.’s ode to the sea, “Odean.” Rather than spelling out the poem with letters, each work is “signed” by Miami performance artist Rudi Goblin, an homage to the many different kinds of languages and translations that take place every day on the streets of Greater Miami. On the displays by the elevator, a short film displays the geographic shape of every single Miami-Dade zip code in quick succession, while on the screens behind the front desk, a scroll of every zip code number in Miami-Dade County crawls by in tropical colors, the contrast in the speed of the images reflecting the "quick-slow" nature of Miami life. On the valet marquee and on the lobby pods, a series of photos taken at O, Miami events increases awareness of the festival and its mission to reach every single person in Miami with a poem.

Created by Sktchy

In celebration of National Poetry Month, O, Miami and Miami-based startup Sktchy invite artists around the world to infuse poetry into their artwork for a project called #WAXpoetic. To participate, get the free Sktchy iPhone app and submit an artwork that incorporates poetry in any way from April 9 to April 12. Your artwork can take almost any visual form: a drawing, a painting, even a sculpture. Just make sure to include the hashtag #WAXpoetic. Sktchy and O, Miami will be featuring select #WAXpoetic submissions throughout the weekend. You can learn more about Sktchy’s ongoing Weekend Art Extravaganza (WAX) project on the Sktchy blog.