O, Miami Poetry Festival 2016 Flips the Word Prescription

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
		yet men die miserably every day
				for lack
of what is found there. 

                       William Carlos Williams "Ashphodel, That Greeny Flower"

O, Miami Poetry Festival 2016 Flips the Prescription of Words 

If  Williams, who was also a medical doctor, was right then O, Miami Poetry Festival is trying to save lives in Miami, improving the health of residents one poem at a time. The word-crafting event seeks to bring a poem to every resident in Miami for the month of April. Um, wait, that’s 2.6 million people in 30 days! Ok. That’s funny. Now, what’s really behind the festival that has transformed the most romantic written art form into a collaborative community art project.

Backed by Miami literary heavyweights like F.I.U Professor and poet Campbell Mcgrath, The O, Miami Poetry Festival started in 2011 after receiving a $300,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. Wow, That’s pricy, but I guess it’s for health purposes, according to Dr. Williams. Since then, poetry has been thrown from helicopters, flown by airplanes, and driven in Ferraris. “O, Miami tests the limits of what’s possible when circulating poems among a community,” says Executive Director Scott Cunningham. “Miamians should watch out for poems on rooftops, in a fortune cookie, on a cafecito cup, at a fashion show, on the sand, on prescription medicine bottles, on the lawn, in your hair, on doorsteps… above water, and even under water!” The organizers have strived to bring a diverse voice to the festival while still appealing to the crowds often at any means, attracting with food, drinks, or flashy spectacles. It seems there’s no other way to get so many Miamians interested in poetry!

But, the annual poetry month fete has also presented smaller events like “Poetry Karaoke” at the festival’s 2014 Poetry House, “Poetry at the Garden” at the former R.Y.P.E. Buena Vista Community Garden, and “Poets that Rock” at Churchill’s Pub. These events were chosen from proposals from members of the community, showing many have a real interest in applying the supposedly outdated art form to benefit those around them…..Keep reading the article published in  miamiartzine.com



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