By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – From bandaids to gumballs, pajama parties, and more, the entire month of April is all about poetry. So say the people behind O, Miami Poetry Festival, now in its 10th year.

“O, Miami is all about every single person in Miami encountering a poem during the month of April. So, we want to go all over Miami Dade County and put a poem somehow in front of you one way or another,” said Executive Director, P. Scott Cunningham.

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Due to COVID-19 last year, the festival went fully online for 30 days in April.

This year, it is a combination of virtual events and in-person encounters.

“This year, we’re doing a lot of poetry in public places. All safe. All things you can see from a distance (outdoors). We’re also doing a few limited outdoor activations that are socially distanced and then we still have a lot of online offerings workshops gatherings and readings,” Cunningham explained.

“I ate a ghost pepper on a lunchtime dare. Mom said it burned my mouth but I didn’t care. I ate that ghost pepper. A seed didn’t go to waste. I won the lunchtime bet, but I lost my taste,” said 12-year-old Sam Kaplan, reciting the poem he writes called, “Ghost Pepper.”

Sam and his 9-year-old brother Simon, have been participating in the popular Poetry in Pajamas event for years. This year, it is virtual.

“We’re going to do it at home, in our mom’s bed and my mom’s studio,” said Simon.

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“We’re going to be on Zoom April 24 at 7 PM and you can go to our Instagram: @poetryinpajamas, to find out the further details,” he said.

Ideas for the events are submitted by people from all over. Here are a few for this year.

“We have an incredible project where we are putting poems by incarcerated poets into gumball machines so you can come up and take a gumball and instead of a ring or gum,  it’s a poem by an incarcerated poet in South Florida,” Cunningham explained.

“Another one we’re doing is called Curitas, which is where we are putting poems on bandaids and we’re giving them to Jackson Memorial Health Systems, so when people get vaccinated at Jackson they can get a bandage with a poem on it.”

Lastly, there is one more from Simon from Poetry in Pajamas. This is written by Shel Silverstein.

“I made myself a snowball as perfect as can be. I thought I’d keep it as a pet and let it sleep with me. I made it. Some pajamas and a pillow for its head, but last night it ran away but first, it wet the bed!”

O, Miami Poetry Festival is on now through April 30th.

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The entire schedule is on their website.

Lisa Petrillo