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By Elizabeth R. Miller,  Knight Foundation

Today kicks off National Poetry Month and O, Miami – the biennial, South Florida poetry festival – has lined up a myriad of creative ways to deliver a poem to every single person in the city. So don’t worry if poetry readings aren’t your style (though they’ll be some of those too). There will be plenty of other ways to participate. Join the opening ceremony with legend Trick Daddy, pair poetry and tattoos with ink master Duke Snyder and poet Tom Healy, or take in a new dance/poetry piece by Merce Cunningham alumni.

Here are nine more ways to engage in this year’s festival:

  1. Write a 100-word poem (in English or in Spanish) that contains the line “That’s so Miami.” If participating on Twitter or Instagram be sure to tag it with #thatssomiami. Poems will be played on WLRN 91.3FM and the best ones published in a book.
  2. Submit a 50-character poem to airplane@omiami.org. One winning poem flown up and down Miami Beach on April 27 and 28.
  3. Find out how your zip code celebrated Poetry Month in the past. Read words that emerged out of poems either presented or collected around Miami, then click through to view events or projects.
  4. Join local open mic readings on April 4 and April 17 at The Betsey Hotel – they’re also hosting a “poetry soapbox” everyday at 5 p.m. where local poets will read on the front steps of the hotel. And check out O, Miami<http://omiami.org/>’s calendar for dozens of other events including Poetry is for the Dogs, Poets That Rock!, Pin Up Poetry and more.
  5. Read “8 ways a cultural event can transcend genre, geography and demographics” by O, Miami Festival’s co-founder and director, Scott Cunningham.
  6. Be on the lookout for a special local poem which will be pasted on 100 lampposts banners throughout Greater Miami as well as a poetry-themed flash mob. You can e-mail info@universityofwynwood.orgwith the subject heading: “FLASH MOB” if you’re interested in getting involved.
  7. Join a special celebration with Thurston Moore, lead singer of Sonic Youth; Richard Blanco, the Miami-raised poet who read at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration; and Megan Amram, a poet, comedian, and writer for the NBC’s Parks & Recreation.
  8. Think poetry is dead? Think again with the first-ever “Poetry is Dead Parade” featuring performances by well known dead poets. The parade starts at noon on April 28 in Lummus Park.
  9. The final weekend on South Beach will feature readings and performances from the most diverse group of poets O, Miami has ever assembled, like Kevin Young, Chase Twitchell, Jean Portante, Jose Angel Leyva, Eduardo C. Corral and Frank Báez.

The O, Miami Poetry Festival was created in 2011 by the University of Wynwood and supported by Knight Foundation. Be sure to check out the recent multimedia report on how the inaugural festival made poetry compelling in one of the country’s most diverse cities.

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