O, Miami Launches Census of Dade County Poets

Categories: Books
O, Miami's Cunningham with Patti Smith.
"There once was a man from Nantucket, with" ... a few more words and we'd qualify for the O, Miami's Poet Census. The inaugural poetry festival, which begins this April, wants to do a head count of all the poets living in Miami-Dade. Founder P. Scott Cunningham, a former New Times staffer, hopes the unofficial census will reveal just how popular the literary form actually is. And you don't have to be Adrienne Rich to qualify. Cunningahm says, "We want all poets--regardless of language, experience, or style--to be counted in this census."

To participate in the census, visit www.omiami.org/census and enter your name, email address, and zip code before the February 28 deadline. Why the zip code? In addition to recognizing the 305's many wordsmiths, the census will be used to create an interactive map demonstrating the "poetic density" of Dade county. Our guess for poets' neighborhoods of choice? Buena Vista and Coconut Grove. The muse requires ample tree canopy.

The census is also a smart way for Cunningham to unearth any hidden poetry talent lurking in Miami's shadows. As part of the census, poets are asked to submit a sample of verse, which will be considered for an O, Miami anthology. The census poets and their verse will also be considered for the myriad of poetry events during the month-long festival.

O, Miami's mission is to make sure that every single person in Miami-Dade encounters at least one poem in the month of April. The innovative festival is off to a good start thanks to the generous backing by the Knight Foundation, and thanks to a very hip first event announcing Patti Smith at this year's Book Fair. Cunningham, as well as select members of the audience, stood up and read lines from Arthur Rimbaud's poem "Vowels." Check the video below.

Random Act of Culture & Patti Smith from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

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