Apr 11, 2024 - News

City's sounds inspire student’s O, Miami poem

A photo of Kerlande Alouidor next to a rendering of an O'Miami tote bag featuring her poem.

Kerlande Alouidor wrote the poem that will adorn this year's O, Miami bag. Photos: Courtesy of Michelande Alouidor and O, Miami

Kerlande Alouidor started writing poems in fifth grade when O, Miami, a local nonprofit that centers poetry, came to her class as part of its education series.

State of swag: Now, as a sixth grader at Morningside K–8 Academy, one of her poems is prominently displayed on this year's edition of the O, Miami Poetry Festival's coveted tote bag.

Catch up quick: Each year, O, Miami selects a poem to feature on totes distributed at events throughout the month-long festival, which began last week.

  • This year, the team at the nonprofit chose Kerlande's because it "conveys a strong desire for more empathy and community" in this city.
  • At first, Kerlande said she was "very surprised" to hear the news. Then she was "so excited."

Kerlande wrote: "I hear and hate, but listen and love. I love where I live and I would never leave."

Zoom in: Kerlande tells Axios her inspiration "was really my family members, the noises I hear in my school and outside of my house."

  • Her family, friends and even the city's sounds are the reasons she loves Miami and would never leave, she says.
  • She also plans to keep writing poetry.

What they're saying: Kerlande's mom, Michelande, cried the first time she read the poem. But hearing it would be featured on a tote and carried around by so many was something else, she says.

  • "I hope she's proud of herself. She put in the work and this is what happened," she says. "I hope she knows how proud I am of her and how proud everyone is of her."
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