Five ways you can be part of O, Miami poetry festival

P. Scott Cunningham introduces last year’s winners of the Ode to the Code at The Kampong.
P. Scott Cunningham introduces last year’s winners of the Ode to the Code at The Kampong.

You don’t have to write a sonnet or memorize a quatrain or even know an elegy from an epigraph to participate in the O, Miami madness, which arrives just in time for National Poetry Month. The poetry festival, which officially kicks off April 1, is seeking volunteers for some of its most imaginative projects. To offer your services — or possibly your roof or front yard — fill out the form at

▪ Poet-in-Decadence: Look, if you’re a poet, you’re probably well versed in decadence, so this will be easy. All you have to do is sit at Gramps in Wynwood and write poems on cocktail napkins. For each napkin turned in to the bartender, you get a free drink. All that’s required is that you BYOD (bring your own driver) or prepare to Uber or Lyft. There are 30 slots open — one for each night in April — so apply soon and write responsibly.

▪ Poems to the Sky: Got a roof near Miami International Airport? Then you can be part of this project, which will place poems written by third- and fourth-grade students at Poinciana Park and Orchard Villa elementary schools on rooftops in one of MIA’s flight paths. Give the passengers something to read when they’re forced to turn off their iPads.

▪ Larry on the Lawn: Lyrical Signs for Political Times: Don’t you want something in your yard that’s nicer than that car up on blocks? How about a literary sign? This project seeks yards to host a series of original campaign lawn signs printed with excerpts from the work of the late American poet Larry Levis. Come on. Do it. It’ll give your neighbors something to talk about besides how rarely you water your lawn.

▪ Pop Up Poetry Protests: Every good event needs a protest — but nobody wants to get a beat down from ’roided up security guards. Here’s your chance to protest safely: You can wave a traditional picket line sign at one of these faux anti-poetry street performances, which will be held outside official O, Miami events and other cultural gatherings throughout the city.

▪ Ode to the Code: Write a five-line poem about your Zip code based on your Zip code. Say it’s 33020. The first line has three words. The second line has three words. The third line has zero words. You get the idea. Send as many submissions as you like to; winners will read their poems at 7 p.m. April 26 at The Kampong. Last year there were more than 3,500 entries, but don’t be intimidated. If anything can inspire you, it’s Miami.