The Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, a statewide competition, is happening again this year in conjunction with the 11th annual Belfast Poetry Festival, to be held Oct. 16 and 17. Maine residents and everyone with access to a Maine post office or mailbox this summer are invited to enter. Citizens, residents and visitors to our great state are all welcome: the only rule is that all entries must bear a Maine postmark.

To enter, submit one poem of up to two total pages in length; each entry must be accompanied by a $5 reading fee. Proceeds will be used to support the festival. Entrants may submit more than one poem, but each additional poem is an additional $5.

The Belfast Poetry Festival Committee will screen entries and forward finalists to an outside judge, poet Baron Wormser, Maine State Poet Laureate from 2000 to 2005 and Guggenheim fellowship recipient, who will choose first, second and third place winners.  The first place winner will receive a $100 cash prize and publication in Off the Coast, Maine’s International Poetry Journal. Winners will be invited to read the winning poem and be honored at the Belfast Poetry Festival in October; winning poems also will be announced and published in the Maine press.

The top 10 poems will be featured in Belfast art galleries during October as part of the festival’s Gallery Hunt; and the top 10 poets will be featured at a festival showcase reading Friday, Oct. 16.

Submissions are welcome through Aug. 8; only submissions received with a Maine postmark dated Aug. 8 or earlier will be read. Poems should be sent without the poet’s name on the poem and accompanied by a cover letter listing the poet’s name, contact information (address, email and phone), and the title of the poem(s) submitted so that poems can be read anonymously. Cover letters need not include biographical information. Poems sent without a cover letter or entry fee will be disqualified.

All poems must be original and previously unpublished. Poems will not be returned, so do not send originals or a SASE. Winners will be notified by Sept. 15; other confirmation of receipt should not be expected.

Entries accompanied by a cover letter with contact information and a check for $5 per poem made out to the Belfast Free Library should be sent to: Jacob Fricke, Belfast Poetry Festival Attn: Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, P.O. Box 911, Belfast, ME 04915.

The Belfast Poetry Festival, one of the few community-based, non-academic poetry festivals in the country, is now in its 11th year of production with support from Off the Coast, the City of Belfast, the Belfast Free Library and Front Street Shipyard.  For more information on this year’s events, the contest or the Gallery Hunt, contact Jacob Fricke at jacob@belfastpoetry.com; visit belfastpoetry.com; or check out the fest’s Facebook page.

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