During my years at The Miami Herald, I have often had to politely reject a reader submission for one simple reason: We just don’t publish poetry in the newspaper.
This month will be an exception. You’ll find a daily dose online, written by Herald Bloom, our fictional and unofficial poet laureate. Bloom, a play on the name of noted Shakespeare critic Harold Bloom, will tweet a poem every morning based on a Miami Herald headline. In the process, we’re hoping you’ll pen your own verse for our Herald Haiku Challenge.
Your inspiration will be our news stories, and the format is the same five-seven-five syllable arrangement you might remember from high school English.
We’ll publish your poems online at MiamiHerald.com/omiami and each Sunday here in the pages of Issues & Ideas. You can find our first round on the front page of this section. And each weekday at 6:31 p.m., WLRN Miami Herald News anchor Chris DiMattei will read Herald Bloom’s poem and a selection of audience entries.
It’s our contribution to O, Miami, a month-long project that aims to expose everyone to at least one poem during National Poetry Month.
The first foray into poetry for the masses was last year, wtih the LeBron James Poetry Contest that was a collaborationi between WLRN, The Miami Herald and poet P. Scott Cunningham. I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical about the marriage of high art and pop culture. But 1,000 entries later, you proved me wrong.
“LeBron, especially at that time, was a polarizing figure,” said Cunningham, director of O, Miami. “He was one of the hot topics, period, in the news. People really like poetry when it’s made accessible to them or when it’s a topic they really have an opinion about. .”
This time the experiment is much broader. You’ll find poetry in unexpected places: in leaflets dropped from the sky, on restaurant menus, on banners stretched across Everglades National Park — and in our newspaper.
So what might an entry look like?
We asked Cunningham to give us an example. His inspirationi was the story about the 200-pound spotted eagle ray that lunged onto a chartered boat. An Illinois tourist was struck by the ray, but thankfully not injured.
And yes, according to Cunningham, sentences may spill over into the next line in a traditional Haiku.
So go ahead and enjoy the rest of your Sunday paper. You should find lots of inspiration. Then take out a pen and paper and start writing. We’re looking forward to receiving and publishing your submissions. Visit MiamiHerald.com/omiami to send us your poems.