“That’s so Miami” brings poetry to the streets

Meg Cramer
PIN analyst

(Photo by Instagram user @sanskhakis)

Editor’s note: We’ve been highlighting the work being done in partner newsrooms that have received Public Insight Network engagement funding. Over the next few weeks, we’ll continue our exploration of the work these partners are doing. Follow the progress of our coverage as we go.

WLRN-Miami Herald News recently launched “That’s so Miami,” a PIN-fueled poetry project that’s asking sources to contribute to “The Poetry Travel Guide to South Florida,” a book of poems about Miami culture. Throughout April, during the O Miami poetry festival, WLRN and the Miami Herald will be collecting poems from PIN sources. Every day a new poem is posted to the “That’s so Miami” tumblr page, like this one: ”Kiss, Kiss.

Stefania Ferro, the PIN analyst at WLRN and The Miami Herald, answered a few of our questions about “That’s So Miami.”

What is PIN’s role in this project?
“That’s so Miami” poems arrive through Twitter and Instagram posts tagged #ThatsSoMiami and PIN queries in English and Español.

A poet oversees verses and photo entries before they are shared on Tumblr. Every week, our newsroom invites PIN poets to read their work in the WLRN-Miami Herald News studio, which is later broadcast on the air and online.

We highlight the best submitted poems of each week, too.

Where did the idea for this project come from?
WLRN-Miami Herald News has collaborated on poetry projects like the Lebron James Poetry Contest, which we did with P. Scott Cunningham, the director of the O, Miami poetry festival. Since December, WLRN-Miami Herald News and O, Miami had been brainstorming ideas for this year’s National Poetry Month theme, and after a series of meetings, “The Poetry Travel Guide to South Florida” was born.

that's so miami logo
What communities or groups are you focused on engaging with? Why?
Having a better presence in Miami’s under-represented communities, like Little Haiti and Overtown, contributes to a stronger relationship with South Floridians. These areas may be less likely to know that WLRN-Miami Herald News is listening to their concerns. This poetry project is one way we can start a new conversation with them.

The Tumblr site and finished book should represent Miami across all neighborhoods. Poetry submission forms are in English and in Español to serve our culturally diverse poets. So far, the project has received verses in English, Español and Spanglish. We’re working on getting poems in Creole, too.

How are you planning to engage with your audience around poetry? What do you think they’ll find compelling about these poems?
WLRN-Miami Herald News will interact with our audience online and away from the computer monitor.

A series of events in under-represented areas of South Florida will give locals a way to write poetry “that’s so Miami.” (The first event kicked-off on April 1.)

People in Little Haiti and Overtown can type their prose in typewriters at our events. “That’s so Miami” poems are shared on-air, on Tumblr, on Facebook and Twitter and in weekly articles.

Some of the project’s poets will share the inspiration behind their verses as community contributors.

Credit: instagram user @danabassett

(Credit: instagram user @danabassett)

Longtime residents will enjoy recognizing parts of their neighborhoods – from a block’s unique trait to an often-visited coffee shop — online and in the poetry travel guide.

What are you hoping the impact of this project will be?
WLRN-Miami Herald News wants to poetically capture all pockets of the city, turning Miami into O, Miami during April.

Hidden communities can share details about their neighborhoods while tourists tell what they find special about this tropical paradise.

We hope this project will bring a sense of place to South Floridians. They’ll know our newsroom is present – and listening – in the area. Their diverse prose published in our travel guide will be a lasting keepsake for all.

The Public Insight Network awarded engagement funding to 17 public media newsrooms across the country. We’ll continue to track the work of those newsrooms and others in this Partner Notes blog series.



Meg Cramer PIN analyst

Before joining the Public Insight Network as an analyst, Meg Cramer was a public insight journalist for Changing Gears at Michigan Radio. There, she engaged with sources around issues of economic change throughout the Midwest.

Over the last year, Meg has been focused on helping people participate in the news-making process. Her reporting has aired on Marketplace, WBEZ and Michigan Radio.