Aesthetic Drift #38 by Avery Coffey

The Festival For Poets: O, Miami!

Coming from someone who has been in Miami for a total of three years, I still haven’t explored all that the city has to offer. There simply isn’t enough daylight to experience the ins and outs of it. However, one event I’ve heard mentioned in several rooms is that of O, Miami, a festival is for lovers of poetry, writers of poetry, and those who simply want to understand it!

O, Miami began in 2011 with the objective of spreading a love for poetry. However, the originators found that the love for poetry and art was already thriving throughout the city. Their only job was to give it a platform. Every summer, they host an open call for event and project ideas. Anyone can contribute, and they shuffle through every single one to mold the O’Miami Poetry Festival for the spring. These events and projects take place over the entire month of April.

Last year, the festival was called off due to COVID-19.

According to Melody Santiago, one of the festival directors, when preparing for this year’s festival, O, Miami had to delegate which events and projects from 2020 would take place this year. Ultimately, some had to be pushed to next year if they were not suitable for a virtual platform.

Mrs. Santiago recalled her introduction to the festival. As a Miami native, she believed she knew everything there was to know about the city. However, as she became involved with the festival, she quickly realized she hadn’t even experienced the true beauty of it. Her time spent with the organization has been dedicated to creating a space for everyone to enjoy literature. There isn’t a specific initiative for O, Miami. More than anything, she wishes for everyone to feel a part of the festival and live through it. Poetry isn’t something that you have to study for. Everyone, and anyone, can enjoy literature.

This statement flows through every project and event they are hosting this year. One of the programs, Something to Chew On, was named a project that Melody is looking forward to. It gives a platform to incarcerated people with a love for poetry. Found in gumball machines, their poems will reach masses and draw a bridge between Miami society and those serving time in prison.

O, Miami will kick off on April 1st with an Instagram Live featuring poet Campbell McGrath as he reads from his favorite book!

Campbell McGrath (left) and John King (right). Photo by Shawn McKee.

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Avery Coffey is collegiate writer based in Miami, Florida. She’s always had a passion for creative writing. Since entering college in 2018, she has discovered a love for using her talents to explore current events and social issues, and being a voice for others.