Beach blankets & jams: O, Miami’s Poetry in the Park
O, Miami hosted its second Poetry in the Park this weekend as part of its annual poetry festival. Their mission is for every person in Miami Dade County to experience at least 1 poem, and this event was nothing short of wonderful.
As a writer, I’ve heard of these events for a while now. Every time I do, my heart skips with excitement as I save the information, but more often than not, something comes up and these are the first plans to be sacrificed. This year, I really wanted to make the effort to check out some art and support poetry. I’m so glad I did.
What I found really amazed me and restored my faith in our local cultural movement. I’ve spoken about this for a while now and every time I see the progress in our city, I grow fonder of living in Miami right now. Upon our arrival, beach blanket and cooler in hand, we were met by awesome jams from SPAM All-Stars and a perfect Miami Beach breeze. We zigzagged through the crowd to find our spot. Once we pitched our fort, we sat on the grass and gazed in awe of the turnout. Couples, families, children… the group had everything. The free-spirited crowd was playing with beach balls and swaying to the music while sippin’ wine. If you closed your eyes at certain points, you could hear the steady drull of the drums and base amidst the everyone’s laughter.
This is what Miami is: a blended quilt of culture, the perfect bedrock for the arts.
After the free live music performances, a man straight out of the 1940’s came out and handed us free popsicles with a message. The poetry-pops were perhaps the most perfect way to segway from the music to the poetry portion of our artistic-picnic experience.
As instructed by the hilarious Miami Vice- themed video (complete with Phil Collins In the Air Tonight and Don Johnson in his 1980’s glory), we made our way to New World Symphony’s famous wall. Here, live a poetry reading was projected under the night sky for the entire park to see. I haven’t been to many readings and again felt that twinge. These are the types of events you forget to appreciate, and I am guilty of it too. After listening to Jamaal May (who I’d never heard of prior, but has been published and celebrated for his weaving of the spoken word), I was tempted to begin creating my own art right then and there.
That’s the thing about art, it’s contagious. Many of us take for granted that we live in a time when we can express ourselves fully. It’s a beautiful thing we do contributing our voice to the greater collective of art and the cultural movement taking place in Miami. I left feeling really blessed that Cris and I get to contribute with our writing, and resolute in supporting more events like this.
There are still 15 days left in April to engage with and encounter a poem in many different ways! Hop on over to the omiami.org and see all the great events O, Miami Poetry Month!