The eighth annual Belfast Poetry Festival is bringing together artists and poets from across the state and joining them in collaborative work that stretches the limits of each medium. This year, 17 poets and 11 visual artists working in 12 collaborative teams will present their mutually inspired work in a fast-paced, larger than life format that comes close to full immersion in both arts.

Continuing the Belfast tradition of poetry firsts, this year’s presentation will break ground in featuring “A Poem to Behold,” a live multimedia pageant of poetry and images, Saturday, Oct. 20 at the University of Maine's Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Ave./Route 3. The event will begin at 4 p.m. with a lively Mix & Mingle. At 5 p.m., in the roomy conference room, “A Poem to Behold” will offer a live, simultaneous projection of words that respond to art and art that responds to words. Inspired by the brisk presentation format of PechaKucha and by the oversized, full immersion experience of Andy Warhol’s “Exploding Plastic Inevitable,” the presentation aims to shrink the distance between the visual and verbal media and open up all kinds of opportunities for poets and artists to inspire each other.

One of the only community-based, non-academic poetry festivals in the country, the Belfast Poetry Festival features established, professionally recognized poets and artists from throughout Maine along with emerging poets to create a lively mix. This year, poets and artists appear in various combinations, as some “teams” consist of one poet with one artist; some show the work of a single person acting as artist and poet simultaneously; and one team shows the collaborative work of many parties. This year's featured creators include the poets and artists of The Poet Rising Collective, Portland; poet Carolyn Gelland with artist Julieanne Reed, Wilton and Mexico; poet and artist Carol Bachofner, Rockland’s Poet Laureate; poet Jefferson Navicky with artist Carrie Scanga, Portland; poet and artist Margaret Weston, Rockport; poet and artist Alicia Fisher, Saco; poet Lee Sharkey with artist Joan Braun, Vienna and Weld; poet Elizabeth Garber with artist Maryjean Crowe, Northport and Belfast; poet Rachel Contreni Flynn with artist Lucy Ellen Smith, Gorham and Windham; poets and artists Kathryn Robyn and Barbaria Maria, Belfast; poets and artists Valerie Lawson and Michael Brown, Robbinston; and poet Elizabeth Tibbet’s with artist Robert Shetterly, Hope and Brooksville.

Samples of their collaborative work, both poetic and visual, are on display at the Hutchinson Center throughout the month of October. Poetic styles range all the way from mythic imagism and confessional narrative to concrete verse and slam poetry; and art goes from classic painting and exotic photography to assemblage, narrative surrealism, high abstraction and everything in between and beyond.

Co-sponsored by the Belfast Free Library, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and the City of Belfast through the office of the Belfast Poet Laureate, the Belfast Poetry Festival’s events are free and open to the public, although donations are welcome, and books will be available for sale. For more information, contact Belfast Poet Laureate Jacob Fricke at or visit or the event’s Face book page.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or