Even after four years of O, Miami, there are those who remain wary of poetry. Why, we know not. Perhaps they suffered a Sir Gawain and the Green Knight trauma at an impressionable age.
But this monthlong extravaganza, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and kicking off Friday, is anything but dull. Here are a few of the intriguing events that run throughout April, but remember there are many others, including a literary day in Hialeah, a Frank Sinatra workshop, dinner-and-poetry pairings and much more, all designed to encourage everyone in Miami-Dade to encounter a poem this month. So surrender. You can’t avoid it.
Check out omiami.org for a full schedule of events.
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April 1: Flip the Script. You can spot the first official sign of O, Miami from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Bayfront Park Metro Station. Artist Rudi Goblen and his crew will be there flipping signs created from Donald Justice’s poem Twenty Questions (Justice, by the way, was born and raised in Miami.) Doesn’t cost you a thing. (Goblen also appears April 7 in his show “PET” at the Light Box.)
April 2: Favorite Poem Project with Robert Pinsky. The 39th poet laureate (above) hosts an evening of his pet project, one that will feature Floridians (and screenings of Floridians) reading the poems they love best. From 7 to 9 p.m. at the Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; RSVP required at eventbrite.com.
April 6: Current: an underwater pool meditation. Artist and filmmaker Jillian Mayer leads a virtual-reality guided underwater meditation. Really. This counts as poetry. You put your head under water and are guided through a meditation via underwater speakers. Don’t worry, you won’t have to hold your breath — snorkels and pool noodles will be handed out. Sessions at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the pool at the Standard Hotel, 40 Island Ave. Miami Beach; $5.
April 7: Poetry Health Fair. Walt Whitman sang the body electric, but could he heal your literary aches and pains? I think not. Come have your poetry ailment diagnosed and get a “prescription” at the first-ever Poetry Health Fair, hosted and co-sponsored by Jackson Memorial Hospital. Poems will be shared in English, Spanish and Creole. 11-1 p.m. at Alamo Park, 1611 NW 12th Ave., Miami.
April 8: Poetry in the Park. Bring a blanket and your favorite snacks and beverages to one of O, Miami’s most popular events, a free Wallcast at Miami Beach’s Soundscape Park. This year the Wallcast features the first Hispanic U.S. poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera. The event starts at dusk, but come early to grab a prime spot on the lawn at 500 17th St.
April 10: Rising Waters Poetry Flotilla. Think of the gondolas in Venice, only with sunscreen and verse, plus you’re doing all the work. BYOB (boat) or rent a kayak and read an environmental poem aloud as part of this roving — or rather rowing — band. Short original works welcome. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Matheson Hammock, 9610 Old Cutler Road Coral Gables. RSVP to email@example.com.
April 24: “Day of Thrones” Field Day Competition. Test brains and brawn and feel as victorious as a Lannister or fold like a Stark at this event of games and field competition co presented with The New Tropic at Hammocks Park in West Kendall. Compete for your “house” and have more fun than you would at the Red Wedding. $10-$20; see omiami.org for sign up information.
April 22 and 23: Poetry Press Week. Just like a Fashion Week, only instead of high couture you have — you guessed it — a showcase for poetry. But instead of simply reading their works, participating poets choose a novel ways to present their work. MANA Wynwood (Terminal Building), 318 NW 23rd St. Starts at 7:30 both nights; free but RSVP at eventbrite.com.