60. P. Scott Cunningham

Categories: 100 Creatives
In honor of our MasterMind genius awards, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email cultist@miaminewtimes.com with the whos and whys.

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Photo by James Harris
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60. P. Scott Cunningham

Who would possibly take on the gargantuan task of generating Miami's interest in poetry? Who can capture the attention of the residents of this tourist town, who are more likely to have boob jobs than actual jobs? That brave man's name is P. Scott Cunningham. Expanding upon Eric Stoltz's line in Kicking and Screaming, he says, "I'm paraphrasing myself here, but I've always said that poetry is necessary specifically because it's unnecessary."

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University of Wynwood
A reputable school, no doubt.
Maybe this Boca Raton-native, with the hopeful eyes of an outsider, will be able to turn Miami on to the wonderful world of meter, rhyme, and free verse. Cunningham is the founder of the University of Wynwood, where he curates projects to advance contemporary literature locally through readings and book events. He's also the founder and director of O, Miami, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation-funded, month-long, poetry festival, which starts this April.

According to Cunningham, "Miami is the perfect place for poetry, because it's full of poetic moments and entirely absent of poetic business."

As the executive editor of Jai-Alai Magazine, he also co-created the zine factory workshop at Design Miami/ and co-edits an annual anthology Ballerz, filled with poems inspired by the National Basketball Association. His poetry has or will appear in The Harvard Review, Court Green, Pool, Pure Francis, PANK, Abe's Penny, Northville Review, Roanoke Review, and Floating Wolf Quarterly, and a satirical piece of his appears in The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes

1. List five people that inspire you.

-Alexandra Cunningham
-Morton Feldman
-Elizabeth Bishop
-Jean Renoir
-Jim Drain (sorry Alex)

2. What was your last big project?

Our Knight Foundation-sponsored Random Act of Culture at the Miami Book Fair International during which we announced O, Miami (see next answer). Pete Borrebach (UW project manager) and I joined 100+ audience members in reading a poem by Arthur Rimbaud before Patti Smith's reading. Then Patti acknowledged it on stage. Coolest thing ever. Watch for the video, due out any day now.

The other most recent big project was/is Jai-Alai Magazine. Which isn't quite finished yet but it's close enough that I'll say the bulk of the first issue is behind us. My co-editors on that project are Gean Moreno and Elena Chiriboga. The first issue features an amazing cover design by Miami's own Kaleidoscope Collective and work by locals Matt Gajewski, Kevin Arrow, Denise Delgado, Michael Hettich, and others.

There's also work by non-locals like poets Kevin Young & Matthew Zapruder, U.K. artist Orly Orbach, and Wesley Morris, who is the film reviewer for the Boston Globe. The release party will be announced soon, during which we'll unveil the artist-made kiosks where you can submit work and buy an issue. The first two are made by Autumn Casey and Gavin Perry.

3. What's your next big project?

The next big project is the biggest of my life, and when I say that I mean my entire life, not just my life up until this point. It's called O, Miami, and it's a county-wide poetry festival University of Wynwood created with a grant from Knight Foundation. The goal of the festival is for every single person in Miami-Dade County to encounter a poem during the month of April 2011. Here's my teaser: There's going to be a Ferrari that reads you poetry.

4. Why do you do what you do?

I'm a tremendously lazy person, which goes well with writing poems. I highly recommend poetry as a career path for all the other lazy people out there who are reading this while they're supposed to be making an Excel spreadsheet or something.

5. What's something you want Miami to know about you?

I write poetry and I'm participating in Nektar De Stagni's and Martin Oppel's NDS Market, which you can still visit. Many people awesomer than myself have stuff for sale there, and the way Nektar and Martin customized the space to accommodate the market is pretty amazing.

What's something you don't want Miami to know about you?

I refuse to further Wikileak myself. I've already admitted I write poetry. Can't we just sandbag the river of humiliation right there?

The Creatives so far:

61. Elena Garcia
62. Summer Hill
63. Autumn Casey
64. Juan Navarro
65. Serge Toussaint
66. David Rohn
67. Diane Brache
68. Spencer Morin
69. James Anthony
70. Jim Drain
71. Claudia Calle
72. Kevin Arrow

73. Andrew Hevia
74. Ana Mendez
75. Michael McKeever
76. Diana Lozano
77. Ricardo Pau-Llosa
78. Agustina Woodgate
79. Tarell Alvin McCraney
80. Jennifer Kronenberg
81. Farley Aguilar
82. Colin Foord
83. Karelle Levy
84. Matt Gajewski
85. Antonia Wright
86. Allen Charles Klein
87. Christy Gast
88. Gustavo Matamoros
89. Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar

90. Kyle Trowbridge
91. Clifton Childree
92. Jessica Gross
93. Danny Brito
94. Nektar de Stagni
95. Anthony Spinello
96. Vanessa Garcia
97. Justin Long
98. Rosie Herrera
99. Rick Falcon

100. Ingrid B

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