O, Miami Poetry Festival 2021

Michael Angee and Isabel Lopez

The O, Miami Poetry Festival returns for its 10th annual celebration of poetry throughout the city of Miami. 

Miami has acted as a hotspot for festivals in recent years, hosting arts events such as the annual Art Basel to music events such as  Rolling Loud. 

The festival, founded with the intention for every person in Miami to encounter at least one poem, runs from Apr. 1 to Apr. 30.  

O, Miami exhibits diversity across all ethnicities, gender identities, religions, socioeconomic statuses and abilities. 

“I think that [the O, Miami Poetry Festival] is a good way, [for] the general public to get their minds working because poetry is a marvel of human thought,” Miami Palmetto Senior High school junior Richard Gonzaga said.

The history of poetry ranges from the colorful expression of epics to the structure of Blank Verse poetry. Although at surface level various types of poetry seem different, they all show different perspectives and stories of writers with any type of story to tell. 

“Throughout my songwriting experience, I’ve learned that one of the best ways to deliver a song is to tell a story, and a lot of the implications of that are in poetry itself,” Gonzaga said.

The earliest forms of poetry exist in the form of epics and hymns in cultures such as those in Mesopotamia. The Epic of Gilgamesh, which historians regard as the oldest poem in the world, tells a story of adventure and mythology. 

Elaborate pieces of poetry with grand stories have spread from culture to culture, but some of the hidden gems of poetry lie in the stories told by and describing everyday people. 

O, Miami also provides educational programs that place poets in schools, detention centers and other places where high quality poetry instruction may not be guaranteed. 

Although these poems scatter around the city, some places one can visit until the end of April include Sourdough Cento, a poetry and baking workshop series through Zoom, Art Deco-O, a visual representation of poetry held at a library through Zoom and Poems at The Underline Kick-Off, where 44 poem are displayed in downtown Brickell.

As their mission lives on for every Miamian to seek a poem, O, Miami plans to celebrate their home and find creative meanings expressed from artists.