The Sunroom: Poetry in Communities

The Sunroom pays poets to teach workshops in communities where high-quality creative writing instruction is not guaranteed.

Donate to The Sunroom

Right now, every donation between $50 and $500 we receive for The Sunroom is matched by The Keys to Giving program. We would be honored to receive your donation - DONATE HERE.

Your contribution will go directly to paying the instructors and to innovative projects that give our students poems a new audience. Want evidence? Ask USA Today, and check out our video that went viral on Facebook.

O, Miami's Sunroom in the News

We recently debuted a brand-new project in collaboration with the Department of Transportation and Public Works: "Wheels and Words," a Miami-Dade County bus wrapped with eleven poems by Sunroom students. 

The bus was covered by NBC Channel 6 News and 7 News Miami.

The student poets and family members, joined by Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Transit Director Alice Bravo, and Dr. Amrita Prakash.

The student poets and family members, joined by Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Transit Director Alice Bravo, and Dr. Amrita Prakash.

The Wheels and Words Bus

The Wheels and Words Bus


Poetry in Schools

The Sunroom Poetry in Schools program currently provides writing instruction to elementary school students (3rd and 4th grade) at three schools in Liberty City: Poinciana Park Elementary, Orchard Villa Elementary, and Holmes Elementary. The goal of these poetry lessons is for students to develop a love for writing and reading while also developing their own creative expression. These lessons happen at an age where learning facility with language is a crucial skill. The lessons take place once or twice a week for a total of ten sessions, culminating with a community poetry reading and the publication of a limited edition chapbook. Periodically, we invite visiting poets (such as U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera) into the classrooms, and student poems are frequently featured in the O, Miami Poetry Festival and through other projects where the work can be seen by a larger Miami audience. 

The Sunroom is proud to partner with these amazing educators, parents, and students.
 

Poetry in Detention Centers

O, Miami partners with Exchange for Change to teach poetry in correctional institutions in Miami-Dade County. Each class is taught by a local poet who is vetted and trained by Exchange for Change, with the goal of breaking down the divide that separates the "inside" and "outside" communities. As with our schools program, we give the inmates' work a second life by creating zines and other inventive publishing mechanisms. We've witnessed first-hand that the classes led by Exchange for Change can lead to a more meaningful life on the inside—as well as a productive life after release—while simultaneously fostering compassion in the people who encounter the prisoners and their poems. The institutions we currently partner with include Dade Correctional Institute, Homestead Correctional Institute, and Everglades Correctional Institution, and we are honored to spend time with the incredible human beings who comprise their populations.


Get Involved

With goals to expand the program into more schools The Sunroom is interested in connecting with:

  • Poets interested in teaching lessons to the students
  • Schools interested in incorporating our program into their curriculum
  • Teachers interested in partnering with our poets to develop programs
  • Donors interested in supporting these workshops (please scroll to the bottom of the for donation options)

If you're interested in getting involved with The Sunroom, please contact laurel.nakanishi@gmail.com or melody@universityofwynwood.org.