O, Miami is helping folks find magic in the little things with the workshop “Keeping Wonder Alive: Odes in Isolation.” (📸: @omiamifestival)
We’re continuing our month-long look at this year’s edition of O, Miami by thinking small, specifically, anything that can fit in your abode. This Thursday, the annual poetry festival is hosting “Keeping Wonder Alive: Odes in Isolation.” The workshop invites you to pen tributes to the household items you’ve spent close time with over the last year.
Then, you’ll be invited to craft short videos such as this one featuring your written word and corresponding imagery of the piece’s subject matter and associated objects. The workshop was conceived by poet Melanie Almeder along with psychotherapist and community-based artist Elia Khalaf as a means of instilling renewed appreciation for the creature comforts we’ve clung to amid the pandemic.
Khalaf spoke to The New Tropic about the origins of “Keeping Wonder Alive” and the art of imbuing magic into the everyday.
What inspired the creation of “Keeping Wonder Alive: Odes in Isolation” for O, Miami 2021?
Elia Khalaf: This project was envisioned in response to our everyday lives in quarantine. As we worked and studied from home, our relationships to household items changed. Naturally, we felt fatigue and stress in isolation. That’s why “Keeping Wonder Alive” hopes to restore a sense of amazement through poetry and art as we write odes praising household objects. The workshops turn ordinary objects into extraordinary elements, seen through the mindful lens of poetry. We were deeply inspired by the work of Pablo Neruda, who was full of awe at the beauty of objects around him. We hope our participants will enjoy their home world anew, reconnecting to a sense of gratitude, mindfulness, and fun!
What can participants expect from the workshop?
The program starts with a series of generative community workshops conducted remotely. Participants are guided on a creative journey through a number of prompts designed to practice mindfulness and to foster a sense of wellbeing at home. Then, writers are invited to turn their odes into narrated videos with their everyday object of choice as protagonist. In the wonder of 2021, poetry can mean a TikTok video of blueberries rolling out of the box at home, or an Instagram reel showcasing cooking pots and pans as engines of transformation and non-stick triumph. The hashtags of #odesinisolation and @omiamifestival are thus creating a virtual homey space where we can all share the metaphorical cup of sugar.
What would you like people to take away from “Keeping Wonder Alive: Odes in Isolation”?
After the workshop, we would love participants to walk away with a newfound sense of wonder and a refreshed perspective. In previous sessions, participants signed off stating, “we will never see spatulas and croissants the same way!” We also hope this project develops a sense of connection and socialization despite physical distance as our poets experiment with words in a safe and playful environment.
“Keeping Wonder Alive: Odes in Isolation'' starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 15; get your tickets here. You can learn more about O, Miami by visiting the festival’s website and social media channels.