The O, Miami Poetry Festival is back this month, which means Miami is packed with poetry-related events all April long. Last Friday, kids of all ages took the Miami Beach Botanical Garden’s stage to recite some of their favorite poetry pieces for Poetry in Pajamas, an open-mic night dedicated to children and literature. The beautiful scenery consisted of colorful flora and fauna, making the event all the more captivating. Miami’s own Afrobeta, performed freestyle jams, which encouraged the children and adults alike to join in and dance.
The gardens were transformed into a large playground for the kids to engage in games like catch, tag, and hide-and-go-seek. After enjoying their play-time in the park, the kids put away their toys and finished devouring their free bowls of cereal and milk provided by Edible South Florida to gather onto the blanket-covered lawn beside their parents to have an evening full of words of wisdom.
The warm, family-like environment gave the kids a welcoming push onto the stage as they proudly recited their poems, many of which were original works. Pets, magnificent sea adventures, and loving family members were some of the topics of the evening that made the crowd ooh, awe, and laugh out loud as they enjoyed the poetry shared for the evening. One performance that particularly stood out was that of a young girl who recited a poem she wrote herself that talked about the love she has for her beautiful sister; it was a touching tribute that filled the hearts of everyone in the crowd with love.
The event was hosted by young Sam Kaplan (9) and his brother Simon Kaplan (6), who led their friends in the poetry production. Announcing the names of each child performing for the evening one after the other, the brothers kept the show organized and afloat and the crowd interested with their humorous remarks and warm personalities.
The brothers enjoy spending their evenings reading poetry from their bottom bed bunk and have a Youtube channel dedicated to poetry. After their videos gained some popularity, they started receiving poems from other kids, sparking the idea to start the project. Their mom, local visual artist Sara Kaplan, shared this with her social media community and from there the magic that is this event took off.
Thanks to Sam and Simon, the young children of Miami have been inspired to get in touch with their creative side and explore an entire world of literary possibilities.
Article and photos by Ericka Miller