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The Betsy Hotel Celebrates National Poetry Month

By: Lisa Reynolds| National Poetry Month | The Betsy Hotel

Presenting a Poetry Reading at Barry University’s Institute for Immigration Studies

Featuring Poets James Cagney, Geoffrey Philip, and Rebecca ‘Butterfly’ Vaughns

The Betsy-South Beach Celebrates National Poetry Month presenting poets James Cagney, Geoffrey Philp and Rebecca Butterfly Vaughns in a free poetry reading on April 10, 2023 at 11 AM in the Andy Gato Art Gallery @ Barry University. Hosts of the event are Jonathan Plutzik, co-owner of The Betsy Hotel, Dr. Giselle Elgarresta Rios, Founder and Director of the Center for Immigration Studies at Barry University. This is the third event in an ongoing series of collaborative poetry programs presented by The Betsy in partnership with Barry University. Barry University’s Andy Gato Gallery is located at 11300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami Shores.

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, to remind the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture. Since 2012, The Betsy Writer’s Room ( has hosted more than 1,000 visiting artists, including notable poets Billy Collins, W.S. Merwin, Nikkey Finney, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Robert Haas, and so many more. The Betsy’s literary programs, and ‘sweet spot for poetry’, are inspired by the work of mid-century poet Hyam Plutzik, a 3-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and father of Betsy Hotel owner Jonathan Plutzik. Hyam’s words are the alpha and omega of The Betsy’s Poetry Rail - a public art installation @thebetsyhotel inscribed with poetry from 12 writers that have shaped Miami culture. Poet Geoffrey Philp (event reader) is featured on The Betsy’s Poetry Rail ( In Fall 2023, The Betsy Hotel will receive National commendation from the Academy of American Poets for service to Poets and Poetry in America.

The Betsy Poetry Rail it at night with Hyam Plutzik's words: 'Out of my life I fashioned a fistful of words.  When I opened my hands, they flew away'
The Betsy Poetry Rail it at night with Hyam Plutzik's words: 'Out of my life I fashioned a fistful of words. When I opened my hands, they flew away'


James Cagney is the author of Black Steel Magnolias in the Hour of Chaos Theory (Nomadic Press, 2018), winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. His second book of poems Martian (Nomadic Press, 2022) was selected by Mark Bibbins, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Ladan Osman received the 2021 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets; as part the Laughlin Award, Cagney received a residency in The Betsy Writers Room at The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach. A Cave Canem fellow, Cagney lives in Oakland, California. James Cagney is presented by The Betsy at Barry University in partnership with the Academy of American Poets Laughlin Award Program.

Geoffrey Philp is the author of eight books of poetry, two novels, two collections of short stories, and three children's books. His poems and short stories have been published in The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse, World Literature Today, The Johannesburg Review of Books, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories, Bearden's Odyssey Poets Respond to the Art of Romare Bearden, Rattle: Poets Respond, and Crab Orchard Review. Philp received the 2023 Silver Musgrave Medal by the Council of the Institute of Jamaica for outstanding merit in literature and is also a recipient of the Luminary Award from the Consulate of Jamaica (2015). In Miami Beach, Philp's work is featured on The Poetry Rail at The Betsy--an homage to 12 writers that shaped Miami. His new book, Archipelagos, published by Peepal Tree Press in 2023, explores the effects of climate change on the Caribbean and the Global South.

Rebecca Butterfly Vaughns, a 2-time Grammy nominated freestyle spoken word artist is also SoFla’s go-to poetically inspired historian on Overtown, AKA The Harlem of the South, where her grandfather had a barbershop. Born in Miami, Butterfly has released 14 studio albums, produced 9 stage shows, published 3 poetry collections, and received numerous awards and proclamations. She’s been referred to as the Jay-Z of poetry because (as she says … ) Rebecca Vaughns is always ready (for anything) with words.

ABOUT THE BETSY HOTEL - The Betsy-South Beach ( is an award winning luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of the Art Deco District on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, that celebrates arts and culture. The Betsy hosts jazz nine+ times weekly and offers programs in visual arts, literature, community arts, and classical music – all presented in the context of a luxurious curated stay, with all programs free and open to the public, presented on property and in the community. Read more about The Betsy's Literary programs:

ABOUT BARRY UNIVERSITY and THE INSTITUTE FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES- Inclusive community, social justice and collaborative service are the cornerstones of The (new) Center for Immigration Studies at Barry University, expressed through interdisciplinary programming, presented interdepartmentally. Dr. Giselle Elgarresta Rios is founding director with a mission to create programs that celebrate the diverse cultures and experiences of Floridians from all walks of life . Barry offers more than 100 degree programs, from bachelors to doctorate with more than 7,000 students, and 50,000 alumni. Barry University's main campus is in Miami Shores, Florida.


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