All month long, WLRN and our partners at O, Miami Poetry Festival have been collecting poems either starting or ending in "That's So Miami" and compiling them on our Tumblr page. We have seen some amazing poems, and as the month begins to wind down we have decided to put the best of these poems up for vote.
We live in one of the best cities, proven by the fact that millions of people vacation here every year. But even in paradise, we get caught up in our daily routines. We let weeks or even months go by without heading to the beach, closing our eyes and enjoying the sounds, aromas and tastes that make our home such a worldwide draw.
As part of our That's So Miami poetry project running during the month of April, we have been airing select submissions from our community of listeners and readers.
In fact, serendipity struck today during one of these pre-recording sessions. One of our contributing poets, Christine Armario of Miami, brought her abuelo, Manuel Armario, who wrote a poem too. Go ahead and read them. Hers is in English; his, Spanish.
Three years ago, a group of friends and I started to dream up what a lot of people considered impossible: a festival that would bring poetry to all 2.6 million residents of greater Miami.
At that time, Miami’s cultural scene was exploding. Art Basel was in full force, and we wanted to do a festival that was the opposite of the “pipe-and-blazer” readings that most people associate with poetry. We wanted to do a festival that reflected Miami’s diversity and personality.
In April, we invited unpublished writers to submit their work as part of our Write South Florida contest. There were three categories in the contest: Amateur, College, and Children. These are the runners-up from the contest in the College category.
Hundreds of Miami-Dade middle and high school students listened to “Two Pianos” by Morton Gould. Afterwards, they wrote poems inspired by the music. It was part of a contest called the Piano Slam. The point is to inspire young people, using classical music, to create their own forms of artistic expression.
When you see a book titled Florida Poems, you might imagine titles and verses about bright sunshine and sand-swept beaches, with a picturesque Key West sunset thrown in. You know, kind of like the poetry version of those generic landscape paintings that hang in every Florida seaside motel? (With the exception of paintings by the Florida Highwaymen, but that’s another story for another time.)
Host Alicia Zuckerman was intensely curious about how young poets graduating with Masters of Fine Arts degrees expect to make money. Since the average poetry journal pays just $20 for a poem, it’s not exactly a way to make a living. Sure, writing by candlelight because you can’t pay FPL has a certain romance to it, but what happens when you run out of matches? So how do poets expect to pay their bills?