Miami may be known more for its celebrations of fashion and big splashy expensive parties that are sort of about art, but in April, a number of excellent writers will be flocking to the Sunshine State for the biennial O, Miami Poetry Festival. The festival combines traditional readings with more interactive events and activities with the goal of getting all of the 2-million-plus residents of Miami-Dade County to encounter or experience a poem. Past participants have included the likes of former Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Kool Moe Dee, Tony Hoagland and James Franco because of course he’d be there, with banners, local businesses and more playing home to new verses.
The lineup, too, is pretty excellent for a literary festival without being too overwhelming. Visiting poets include Richard Blanco, who you may remember from President Obama’s second inauguration, heavy-hitting Chicago writer Achy Obejas, funny Internet person Megan Amram and Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore. Chase Twitchell, Natalie Diaz, Jean Portante, Frank Baez, Eduardo C. Corral, Victor Rodrîguez Núñez, Tom Healy, Stacey Waite and DéLana R.A. Dameron round out the visitors’ lineup for now. The organizers will be hosting an informational session for people who want to be involved with the festival today—check out the website for details.
Here’s a video of Agustina Woodgate from the last O, Miami, taking us through her process of “poetry bombing,” sewing poems into the tags of clothing items and other unexpected places. Hey, if it gets more people reading and appreciating words, then it’s not a bad idea.