Enter the O, Miami Basketball Tournament and Win Street Cred

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What do the Big Three and O, Miami have in common? Their love of dominant basketball.

Miami's literary and athletic worlds are headed for a collision course next Easter Sunday. Do your free throw reps, get that jumper wet, and prepare to have some good time on the hardwood. On April 20, the gauntlet will be thrown.

See also: Young Voices Will Rise During the O, Miami SPEAKtacular

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Young Voices Will Rise During the O, Miami SPEAKtacular

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SPEAK! members (left to right) Hadja, Peter, and Amorette.
Poetry is getting a multi-sensory injection of music, dance, and raw power thanks to SPEAKtacular, an O, Miami event produced by the the Jason Taylor Foundation. The event highlights South Florida's burgeoning poetic talent by featuring the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network's SPEAK! Collective, a group of extremely talented and artistically brave high school students.

Darius Daughtry, the director of poetry programs for the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, is one the of minds behind the innovative event. He, along with FIU MFA candidate Ashley Jones and P. Scott Cunningham, the co-founder and director of O, Miami, worked together to make this event a reality.

See also: Five Fun, Easy Ways to Get Involved in O, Miami

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The Writer's Institute Gives Miami Writers College-Level Courses for Cheap

Categories: Literary

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Where can you meet writing greats like Richard Blanco, Amy Stewart, and high-powered literary agents all in one place? If you think you need to be a part of an exclusive organization or an accredited university, think again. All you need to do is attend the Writer's Institute, coming this May.

This is the ninth year of the Writer's Institute, and this year promises to be just as inspiring and educational as years prior. Lissette Mendez, program director at the Center for Literature and Theatre at Miami Dade College, said the Writer's Institute began close to when the center got started. Mendez was one of the people behind the original grant to form the center, and the idea behind it was "to promote reading and writing and to create [programs] that emphasize reading and writing."

One such program is the Writer's Institute, which brings some of the biggest names in the country to Miami to teach and support the city's expansive creative community. The best part is that you don't have to be a college student to gain access to this opportunity. All you have to do is sign up.

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Five Fun, Easy Ways to Get Involved in O, Miami

Categories: Literary

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O, Miami/Gesi Schilling
In a city that's less than literary, O, Miami, is a beacon of eloquent verse, scriberly (did we just invent a word?) skill and the power of prose. This ode to all things poetic is back for its third incarnation, and like a good canto, it gets more epic with time.

For its 2014 run, the poetic party is offering an overwhelming array of events. There's everything from a parade, to a poetry wallcast, to a pool party. But let's be real, no matter how ardent your love for poetry, there's no way you can get in on it all. So if you're pressed for time, here are five fun and easy ways to get involved.

See also: O, Miami: A Month of Verse In Our Paradise of the Perverse

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O, Miami Aims to Inspire Verse, From Symphonies to Barstools

Categories: Literary

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Courtesy of O, Miami Poetry Festival/Gesi Schilling
Ivan Lopez channels José Martí.
Travel across the Magic City from Little Havana to Lemon City, Hialeah to Homestead, or South Beach to Surfside and you'll be serenaded by a sonorous canto of contrasting voices.

For interdisciplinary artists Juana Meneses and Leila Leder Kremer, that multicultural heart is the inspiration for "Home: Beyond Geography," their new conceptual project. The pair will crisscross the county this month armed with pens and postcards to capture local residents' personal stories.

"We want people from different neighborhoods to share their impressions, stories, and memories," explains the 35-year-old Meneses, who moved to Miami from Bogota in the late '80s. "Many people who live here came from other places, and this is a way for them to relate their experiences of our city in an index that is highly personal while remaining open-ended."

See also: O, Miami: A Month of Verse In Our Paradise of the Perverse

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Send in Your Miami Stories for the Big Read Tumblr Project

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Courtesy of MDC
When it comes to bibliophilia, these aren't the glory days of Reading Rainbow (we miss you, Levar!). With attention spans shortening, libraries closing, and book publishers going broke, any chance to promote tomes lengthier than 140 characters is a step in the right direction.

Enter the Big Read, a National Endowment of the Arts program to promote reading and literature. The Center for Literature and Theater at Miami Dade College is getting in on the fun with a whole host of events inspired by the book The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Think flash mobs, Indian film screenings, and best of all, a Miami Stories Tumblr open to submissions from everyone.

See also: MDC Confucius Institute and MIFF Bring Chinese Cinema, Film Students Face Off For Place In Shanghai Film Festival

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Orange Is the New Black Author Piper Kerman to Speak in Miami

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Award-winning author Piper Kerman is busting out of her frozen New York digs and making her way to the Magic City, which happens to be one of her favorite places to visit.

Kerman, who wrote Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Woman's Prison, will stop by to deliver the keynote speech at an event for the National Council of Jewish Women - Greater Miami section.

"I live in New York City, so it's actually rare to visit an American city which feels as multicultural and exciting as New York, but Miami is definitely one of those," Kerman said. "Not to mention much better weather."

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The Minimalists: Five Ways to Be Happy With Less Stuff

Categories: Literary

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Courtesy of the Minimalists
Stuff. So much of our lives are spent wanting it, buying it, trying to keep it. We work 60-hour workweeks so we can fill our drawers and purses and closets and storage units and attics with stuff. We take pictures of our stuff to post on Instagram, spend weekends picking out more stuff to buy, talk about our stuff at cocktail parties.

Sure, we need some stuff. We need to eat stuff, use stuff, and wear stuff (in polite society, anyway). But how much stuff do we really need? And how much of our stuff actually brings value to our lives? That's the question Ohioans Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus began asking themselves when, in their late 20s, they realized they were outwardly successful but inwardly miserable.

The duo, who call themselves the Minimalists, recently penned a memoir titled Everything That Remains. Their book tour includes a stop at the Bookstore in the Grove next Monday, so we spoke with Millburn and gleaned some serious wisdom about living a happier life.

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NoViolet Bulawayo on We Need New Names and Michael Jackson's Popularity in Zimbabwe

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photo by Smeeta Mahanti
NoViolet Bulawayo: has a perfectly good name, thank you very much
In NoViolet Bulawayo's debut novel We Need New Names -- a finalist for this year's Man Booker Prize -- teenager Darling moves from Zimbabwe to Michigan, where she is struck by a rather large difference between Americans and the people back home.

In Zimbabwe, Darling thinks, fatness "did not interfere with the body; a neck was still a neck, a stomach a stomach, an arm an arm, a buttock a buttock. But this American fatness takes it to a whole 'nother level: the body is turned into something else -- the neck becomes a thigh, the stomach becomes an anthill, an arm a thing, a buttock a I don't even know what."

In fiction about Africa by non-Africans, it is jarringly common for the entire continent to be exoticized into a morass of clichés, a single place in need of saving and understanding by the West. But Bulawayo, who also moved from Zimbabwe to America (and who will be reading at this weekend's Miami Book Fair International), inverts this trope to put her outsider's eye on the grotesqueries of Western living.

"It's always been a personal interest of mine," Bulawayo says of the way the West appears to peoples living outside it. "As somebody who came from another culture, moved here and had to learn all the codes of behavior, I particularly wanted to flip the script."

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Miami Book Fair: Poet and Publisher Jonathan Galassi on Coming Out as Gay in His New Book

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photo by Nancy Crampton
Like most poets, Jonathan Galassi is also the president of one of the world's most renowned publishing houses and is the foremost translator of Nobel Prize-winning Italian poet Eugenio Montale. He probably also has a cat.

Galassi runs Farrar, Straus and Giroux, which has Montale and 21 other Nobel laureates on its roster, as well as a phalanx of acclaimed authors -- Jamaica Kincaid, George Packer, Sam Lipsyte and August Kleinzahler among them -- who will be at this year's Miami Book Fair International. Galassi will be there, too, but as a Knopf author with his latest volume of poetry, Left-Handed.

"The book is about change, about stripping off layers and getting to reality," Galassi says. He readily volunteers the nature of this change: after two decades of marriage, Galassi divorced and came out as gay.

See also: Miami Book Fair International 2013: The Ten Best Events

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