O, April

By | May 2nd, 2011 | No Comments
Operation Poem Drop by Robby Campbell

In April 2011, in Miami, helicopters dropped poems from the sky.

With the start of May ends one of the most exciting months since we launched Beached Miami in September. A brief rundown is in order. First there was the admirably quixotic O, Miami poetry festival, which for 30 days pelted the city with poetry from every angle in an effort to reach all 2.5 million Miami residents. That it may have fallen a million or so short does nothing to diminish the festival’s ambition, intent, or result. Literature wise, Miami may never have had it so good as it did in April, with everyone from Hip Hop Laureate Kool Moe Dee to United States Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin touching down in the Magic City to drop a verse.

As O, Miami’s blog brother, we did what we could to cover as much of the action as possible. But with about 50 events and projects in 30 days, seeing/doing it all was impossible. Still, what we did experience — roasted pork and poetry beside No Name Bay, Anne Carson’s dark NOX and quirky STACKS, Kool Moe Dee’s lyrical braggadocio, James Franco’s fake smile, Merwin’s speaking in the forgotten tongue of ancient forests — all of that made us feel quite lucky to be alive in Miami right now.

Then there was our own quixotic side project, the O, Miami open-source epic poem, which, after 30 days, ended up with 120 contributors, 470 lines, and write-ups by the Miami Herald and the Huffington Post. Not bad for a last-minute idea. For the record, these were the epic’s last lines: “Sea salt/ Asphalt/ O, Miami, it’s not your fault/ The uprooted palm tree apologized to the sand/ For the high rises shortening the day”. (Actually, those were the last lines I intend to add to the body of the poem. The comment section, however, will remain open forever.)

Outside of the realm of poetry (as if such a place exists), there was the Sweatstock 2011 music fest and the Borscht Film Festival, both of which drew huge, hungry crowds to munch on the fruits of Miami musical and cinematic creativity. I shared my mixed feelings on the BFF, but both fests were nonetheless damn fun and gave this local culture critic the assurance of having plenty to write about in the coming years.

So those were the highlights. Normally, I’d trade in the rearview mirror for the windshield at this point in the post, but I want to linger on in April 2011 for a bit longer. It was a rare month, all too rare for the people here who love literature and music and film and whose ideal world features biodegradable poems falling out of helicopters and other improbably wonderful things. I’d be sad to see it go if I didn’t have faith that Miami was permanently better in its wake.

But I do.

For one last look at the April that was, check out the Photos of the Month. Then head over to our events page for a glimpse of the May that will be. Feel free to add your events to the mix, and make sure to check out this month’s Top Five Music Events list, which will undoubtedly need to be updated shortly to include the Davie stop on Toby Keith’s soon-to-be-announced “Songs About Boots and Putting Them in Bin Laden’s Ass” tour. Stay tuned.

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