The conclusion of April’s National Poetry Month was observed April 28 on the Midcoast. The 12th annual Waldo County Young Poet Laureate contest winners were announced at Mr. Paperback in Belfast; and the second annual Swarm of Poets event, including winners of the Poetry Month Rockland contest, took place at Rockland Public Library.

Young Poet Laureate

The awards ceremony for the Waldo County Young Poet Laureate Contest included a reading by Genevieve Shepard of Searsport Dostrict High School, last year’s Young Poet Laureate winner and state finalist in the Poetry Out Loud competition; Carolyn Locke, local poet and teacher at Mt. View High School in Thorndike, who read from her book “Always This Falling”; a reading from Belfast Poet Laureate Jacob Fricke; lively emceeing by poet Gary Lawless of Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick; and spirited readings from many young poets. One poet, Jamie Knowles of SDHS, read and wrote spontaneously on site.

This year’s winners were Abby Norman, a graduate of SDHS and this year’s Waldo County Young Poet Laureate; Kaytlyn Porter of Mt. View, first runner-up; Madison Cook of Isleboro Central School, second runner-up; and Anderson Denduang of SDHS. third runner-up; with honorable mention to Erica Badger, Liddy Clapp, Anastasia Cross, Amanda Dickey, Laura Dickey, Tim French, Kaleb Hills and James Wilkinson. Judges for the contest included Shepard, Locke, Lawless and Susan Guthrie of the Belfast Institute of Lifelong Learning.

The event was sponsored by Nancy Burnham of Mr. Paperback with generous support from Lawless, Guthrie, Locke, JoAn Petersen of the SDHS library and many local teachers.

Poetry Swarm

The Poetry Swarm was attended by close to 75 people. More than a dozen poets read their work including winners from this year’s poetry contest: Children’s category, Julia Clough, first place, and Annabel Parker, second; Teen, Samantha Calamari, first place, and Hope D. Clark, second; Adult, Denise Devaney, first place, Betsy Headley, second, and Zibette Dean, honorable mention). Carol Bachofner, developer of Poetry Month Rockland, emceed the event and Rockland Poet Laureate Kendall Merriam officiated over the presentation of the certificates to the winners of the contest.

Poetry Month Rockland expanded this year to include such things as Poems on Your Pillow, where local inns placed scrolls of poems on the pillows of their guests at turn down each night; Fireside Poetry at noon each Wednesday in the library’s fireplace room, led by Merriam; and mysterious Poetry Drops, which saw 30 poems popping up, via one-sheet posters of a poem and an image, in 30 days at businesses and other public locations all over the city.

The committee for Poetry Month Rockland this year included co-chairwomen Patty King and Mary Jane Martin of the library; Amy Levine, library director; and poets Merriam, Bachofner, Alan Clark and Ellen Goldsmith. Next April, a new city poet laureate will be named at the Poetry Swarm.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to