Inaugural National Poetry Month Festival

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April is National Poetry Month and event organizers throughout South Florida are showcasing how the written and spoken word can help people alleviate feelings of fear, uncertainty, and loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first-ever National Poetry Month Festival at Riviera Beach City Marina is coming soon to add to those showcases.

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Desiree Karnis Reavis is the event organizer and COO of the The Desired Group. She says headliners include musicians and local and national spoken-word artists. One of the featured artists is Tony, Peabody and Emmy-award winning poet Black Ice.

“Because of what we’re dealing with [with] COVID, it’s perfect for the social distancing so everybody’s safe,” Karnis Reavis said. “We even brought in a COVID-compliant company to make sure that we’re going to produce an amazing event but also to keep everyone there safe as well.”

The Riviera Beach CRA and Parks and Recreation Department are supporting the inaugural outdoor festival. The event will feature food trucks, vendors, a dance team, and a live band.

Karnis Reevis, who is also the co-founder of THE STAGE — a spoken-word poetry and music event series in West Palm Beach — says the festival at Riviera Beach’s popular waterfront is aimed at helping people find solace through introspective art.

“And see, that’s the beautiful thing about poetry and spoken word. It doesn’t matter your age, your race, socio-economic … your political views — poetry brings us all together,” she said. “It’s therapeutic. So this event is for everybody.”

Karnis Reavis is also working with elected officials in Riviera Beach to help find funding for more activities at the festival, which could include creative workshops in the future.

Other headliners include local artists and trailblazers in the local poetry scene: Ingrid B, an event host and owner of On The B Side, is the Will “Da Real One” Bell Trailblazer Award Honoree. The award is named in honor of Will “Da Real One” a legendary figure in South Florida’s poetry, spoken word and arts community who was shot and killed in 2011.

The festival includes performances from Terese “Chunky” Hill, Anomaly from the legendary Literary Cafe, Consider This (co-founder of THE STAGE), Jeanette and her Stages, Calvin “Made-Son” Early, Casandra Tanenbaum, QUICKThePoet, and a music performance by E1EVEN.

The National Poetry Month Festival is set for April 24 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Riviera Beach Marina Village Event Center, 190 E 13th St.

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