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2020 Festival RFP Guidelines

O, Miami is currently accepting proposals for projects and events to occur during the next O, Miami Poetry Festival in April 2020.

Please Read All The Way Through These Guidelines. They are filled with tips and suggestions for success, especially the FAQ. 

The Festival

The mission of O, Miami is for every single person in Greater Miami to encounter a poem during the month of April. O, Miami was founded in 2011. Since then, we’ve produced over 400 projects designed to bring poetry to new audiences in Miami-Dade County. The festival has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, Dwell, Huffington Post, Miami Herald, The Paris Review, and many others.

What To Propose

  • An Event
  • A Project


Every festival project and event does at least one of the following:

  • Implements a novel method for creating encounters between Miami’s population and poetry
  • Addresses a particular audience in Miami (and one that is probably not a typical poetry audience)
  • Empowers a group of Miamians to share and interact with poetry


The project/event must…

  • Conform to the festival’s mission
  • Occur during the month of April 2020
  • Have a target audience in Miami-Dade County

Hint: The project should pay attention not only to its potential live audience, but its potential audience in the digital world after the festival is over.


All proposals must be received by midnight on October 31, 2019. Winners will be notified on a rolling basis. We may also schedule interviews with potential project managers before making a final decision.


What is your selection criteria?

  • Adherence to O, Miami's mission of reaching new audiences for poetry in Miami
  • Creative Merit
  • Feasability
  • Impact

Is it OK to propose mixing poetry with other artistic genres?

Yes! Many of our most successful projects and events have combined poetry with dance, art, film, music, etc.

Can I propose an event at which I am the featured reader?


Can I propose an event or project I’ve already done before, or am currently doing?

Generally speaking, we support original ideas, but we are open to adapting existing events and projects to the festival. What we’re NOT looking for is ongoing, regularly occurring events, unless there is something new and special in the proposal. For instance, if you host a monthly open mic night, unless there is something that makes the April edition of your series very different from the other ones, we will most likely not accept it.

Can I propose more than one idea?

Yes. Propose as many ideas as you like; however, each one will require a separate submission.

How much does the budget factor into your decision-making?

Feasibility is a part of our consideration. Your primary objective should be to create a budget that realistically reflects the scope of your project. We understand some worthwhile projects just can’t be done cheaply. What we don’t want to see is a budget that doesn’t reflect the scope of its project. The majority of our projects cost less than seven hundred fifty dollars, though we have produced projects that cost over $10,000.

Can you give me examples of previous projects and events you consider successful?

Yes, here's a selected list. For more documentation of events and projects, watch the videos on our website and check out the photos on our Facebook page.

  • Poems on rooftops so airplanes can see them
  • Poems in prescription bottles at Jackson Memorial Hospital
  • Fake street signs with original poems on them
  • Poetry labels sewn clandestinely into random pieces of clothing at thrift stores
  • Poems translated into Braille and mailed to Miamians
  • Poems gold-leafed onto urinals
  • Poems read out of a roving Ferrari on Miami Beach
  • A workshop combining poetry with comic books
  • A recreation of the Situationist practice of the dérive in a Miami neighborhood
  • Limited edition chapbook created by youths at a juvenile detention center
  • Poems displayed on banners throughout Everglades National Park
  • Poems, in English and Spanish, on drink coasters distributed to bars
  • A community-wide call to residents to write poems on the subject of “That’s so Miami”
  • A video project that asked pedestrians to read poems on the spot

Do I have to live in Miami to propose a project/event?

No, but it helps. We’ve accepted projects from people in Sweden, England, New York, etc. Some of these projects did not require the designers to be physically in Miami in April. Other project managers covered their own travel costs, and for others, travel was part of the approved budget.

I’m not familiar with Submittable. Can I submit some other way, like by snail mail?

No, sorry. Having all the submissions in one digital place is essential to our process of selection.

About Us

O, Miami builds community through literature in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We are based at The Betsy Hotel on South Beach. To learn more, visit

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

Waterproof is a book-length anthology of remembrances about Miami, written by YOU, the people who lived here.

Imagine Miami is gone, and you’re the only one who remembers it. You have to describe it, place by place, thing by thing, in order to preserve it in time. What would you write about? What photos would you show? What drawings would you make?

We’re asking for NON-FICTION & ART TRIBUTES to SPECIFIC Miami places, moments, phenomena, and people. 

Need help? Here is an original curriculum to get you started writing.

Possible subjects to write about (and yes, you can steal one of these):

  • La Vaquita
  • Club Space
  • Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
  • Hurricane Andrew
  • Un batido de trigo
  • ¿Qué Pasa USA?
  • Etc.

When people in your new city ask, “What was Miami like?,” this is the book you’ll show them.

What to Submit

We are accepting TWO different kinds of work: writing and art

(WRITING) – 100 to 750 word “micro-obituaries” for specific places, moments, people, etc. in Miami. We're looking for PROSE, but if you submit a poem, and it's great, that's fine, too. You can write about something that has already disappeared (Fox’s or Peaches); a specific moment in Miami’s history (The Shuckers deck collapse), someone who encapsulated this place for you (That guy who plays “Careless Whisper” on Bird & Douglas), etc. We’re open to all different kinds of interpretations of “What shouldn’t we forget about Miami?” We are looking for imagination, heartfelt emotion, humor, anything that shows us you really loved Miami. The only rule is: be as specific as possible.

PRO TIP: IF YOUR TITLE IS NOT SPECIFIC, CHANCES ARE THE PIECE WON'T BE EITHER. So if your title is something like, "Miami," "Goodbye Miami," "To Miami," etc., your obit isn't specific enough.

(ART) – Visuals. Submit a photo, illustration, or other digital image that you personally have the rights to, either as a companion to your piece, or as a stand-alone elegy. We don’t want the sunset over downtown, or other generalized scenes of Miami. (Enough of those will survive on their own.) We want specifics. Can you draw Yambo’s? A Marino-to-Duper flea flicker? The jets skis at Santa’s? Now you’re on the right track.

Who can Submit 

  • Submissions will be accepted from anyone, but priority will be given to current and former residents of South Florida.
  • Writing and art are separate categories. You’re not expected to submit both, but you certainly can.
  • You do NOT have to be a professional, semi-professional, or even aspiring writer or artist. We’re interested in what everyone in Miami has to say/depict.
  • All languages are welcome.


  • All submitters, if their work is chosen, grant first publication rights to Jai-Alai Books for their work. 
  • Contributors receive one copy of the book; a discounted rate on the purchase of additional copies; and an opportunity to read their work at a public event.


  • Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis between now and October 15, 2019.
  • “Rolling basis” means that we may fill the book before the October 15 deadline, so we recommend submitting as early in the window as possible.
  • You may submit as many times as you like. 

Who is involved?

  • The book’s editor is Mario Alejandro Ariza. Ariza is a Dominican immigrant to the United States. He is the author of Disposable City: Miami’s future on the Shores of Climate Catastrophe, forthcoming from Bold Type Books in summer 2020. He holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Miami and a Master’s degree in Hispanic Cultural Studies from Columbia University. His poetry, journalism, and non-fiction writing can be found in places like BOAAT,  The Atlantic, Huffington Post, and The Believer. 
  • The publisher is Jai-Alai Books, a subsidiary of O, Miami. 
  • The book’s designer is Topos Graphics.
O, Miami