Years ago when P. Scott Cunningham was trying to avoid making eye contact on a New York City subway, he came across Poetry in Motion, an initiative where poems would be featured on the trains instead of advertisements. The poem was called, Hunger, by Billy Collins and it painted a vivid picture of a fox being taken home in a satchel for dinner.  Not having been particularly interested in poetry back then, the poem stood with him  years later along with the impact of infusing the written word in the most unlikely places.

Today, Scott is the founder and director of O, Miami whose mission is for every single person in Miami-Dade County to encounter a poem during the month of April. O, Miami also has a publishing imprint, a poets-in-schools residency, and other programs that democratize access to literature and re-think the role of the literary arts in American society.

Scott also recently released his first poetry book titled, Ya Te Veo, named after a mythical tree that eats people. The book focuses on what “we think is hidden, in questioning the gap inside all of us, a gap between what we feel and what we say and do, making space for our many contradictions.”

We hope you enjoy the conversation,

Alex and Jeanette

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SHOW NOTES:

THAT’S WHAT I LIKE:

INTERVIEW NOTES:

TWEETABLES:

  • “A lot of the first book is me trying on different masks and hats and seeing what fits and what doesn’t.”
  • “I kind of liked the idea of writing a poem where nature is really evil and trying to kill you.”
  • “Your process as a writer should always be, you should be reading way more than you’re writing.”
  • “I don’t think you can find a truly great writer who is not actively being influenced and conversing with other people.  It’s not something that can be done in isolation.”
  • “The biggest problem I think about Miami is that we’re constantly looking for validation elsewhere for who we are.”
  • “Poetry should be something that is, there are no rules, there’s no right answer, there’s no way to test it.”
  • To me, great art is created out of a place of vulnerability, of doubt, of you know, I’m bumping up against something that I don’t understand.”

WHAT’S ON HIS NIGHTSTAND:

CONNECT:
O’Miami: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
Scott: Website | Ya Te VeoTwitter | Facebook

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