1. In February, I met with P. Scott Cunningham and Pete Borrebach for lunch at a noodle house. I couldn't find the place at first because it was lodged in the lobby of a motel on Biscayne Boulevard that, in years past, was known more for hookers and guns and rock (and I don't mean 'and roll'). But this neighborhood has now reinvented itself --as is also the city of Miami's custom-- into a hamlet of galleries, eateries, and indie mom and pop shops. There are things to do here besides driving by with locked car doors. Scott and Pete were working on their own newborn - O, Miami, the city's first poetry festival.
I ate basil and tofu and listened to their schemes: they were going to try to place if only one poem into the hands of my hometown's 2.5 million citizens, regardless of whether they liked poetry or not. Scott and Pete were most interested in the latter, the possible converts, and they knew how to set the trap. They'd woo the city with a relentless courtship. O, Miami would wrap buses with couplets, fly in W.S. Merwin, the sitting U.S. poet laureate, invite Chilean poet Raúl Zurita, hip hop legend Kool Moe Dee, actor-now-writer James Franco, and many more to speak and read, host collaborative art shows and a literary death match, surreptitously sew poetry tags into shirts at thrift stores, drop poems from the sky, rent a Ferrari. They had a lot of wild ideas. Had they locked it all down yet? No. When would the festival launch? In about 6 weeks and running the whole month of April. I smiled and slurped my dripping and delicious noodles. I thought a) These guys are crazy. b) God, I hope they do it. All of it.