"Census" Aims to Count All Poets in Miami

MIAMI – The ranks of Miami-Dade County’s poets will be officially tallied this winter, thanks to an initiative created by “O, Miami,” a county-wide poetry festival inaugurating in April 2011.

From now until February 28, 2011, O, Miami is asking all residents of Miami-Dade County who write poetry to participate in the first-ever Miami Poet Census. The publication of individual poems or collections of poems is NOT a requirement to be included. Anyone who writes poetry and identifies as a poet is encouraged to sign up and be counted.

“We want all poets—regardless of language, experience, or style—to be counted in this census,” says O, Miami’s Director P. Scott Cunningham. “For too long, poets in Miami have toiled unrecognized in the shadows. This census is an opportunity for poets to demonstrate how integral we are to Miami’s cultural community.”

O, Miami, sponsored by Knight Foundation, aims to bring a poem to every resident of Miami-Dade County in April – whether through readings, on the sides of buses, restaurant menus, or through Miami-Dade classrooms.

“O, Miami will help engage South Florida in great literature, and remind us all how important and enriching poetry can be in our lives,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president/arts.

To participate in the census, poets should visit www.omiami.org/census and fill out the simple census form that asks for name, email address, and zip code. Cunningham assures that the information will not be given to third parties.

Poets will also be asked to donate a short sample of representative verse. All forms, styles, and languages are welcome. A selection of the submitted verse will be incorporated into an anthology produced by O, Miami, while all poets who register for the Miami Poet Census will be eligible to become creative participants in O, Miami's April 2011 events and projects.

“Right now, O, Miami is the most exciting poetry event in the United States,” said Campbell McGrath, poet and MacArthur Genius Award Winner.

For more, visit www.omiami.org

For a video of Director P. Scott Cunningham with musician/writer Patti Smith, visit http://vimeo.com/21827073

About O, Miami
The goal of O, Miami is for every single person in Miami-Dade County to encounter a poem during the month of April 2011. O, Miami is produced by the University of Wynwood (universityofwynwood.org) and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. For more, visit omiami.org.

About Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the  vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on  projects that promote informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

For all inquires, contact: P. Scott Cunningham, O, Miami Founder/Director at scott@omiami.org or 786-871-4817. Headshot available upon request.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.