BELFAST — Poet Alexandria Peary, who grew up in Sidney, Maine and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, has been announced as the judge of the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, a statewide competition happening this year in conjunction with the 16th annual Belfast Poetry Festival, to be held Saturday, Oct. 16. Maine residents and everyone with access to a Maine post office or mailbox this summer are invited to enter. 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 10 finalists to Peary, who will choose first, second and third place winners. The first-place winner will receive a $100 cash prize and publication in The Maine Review. Winners will be invited to read the winning poem and be honored at the Belfast Poetry Festival in October 2021; the 10 finalist poems and winners will also be announced in the Maine press.

Peary is a 2020 recipient of an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship and is the author of eight books, including “Control Bird Alt Delete,” “Prolific Moment: Theory and Practice of Mindfulness for Writing” and “The Water Draft.” Her writing has appeared in the Yale Review, North American Review, New York Times, The Gettysburg Review, Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, Southern Humanities Review, New England Review, and Barrow Street. She specializes in mindful writing, the subject of her 2019 TEDx talk, “How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You Write,” available on YouTube. She is the architect and host of the popular webinar series on mindful writing at the National Council of Teachers of English and has interviewed such luminaries as Shaka Senghor and George Saunders.  More information about her initiatives can be found at or on Twitter at @NHPoetLaureate.

Contest submissions are welcome from now until Aug. 15; only submissions received with a Maine postmark dated Aug. 15 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; checks should be made payable to the Belfast Free Library. All poems must be original and previously unpublished. Poems will not be returned, so please do not send original copies or a SASE. Simultaneous submissions are accepted; please note on the cover letter and notify the festival immediately of acceptance elsewhere. Ten finalists will be notified by Sept. 15; other confirmation of receipt should not be expected. People already showcased in this year’s festival or involved in its production are not eligible to participate. Entries are to be sent accompanied by a cover letter with contact information and a check for $5 per poem made out to the Belfast Free Library—to: Jacob Fricke, Belfast Poetry Festival; Attn: Maine Postmark Poetry Contest; P.O. Box 911; Belfast, ME 04915.

The 16th annual Belfast Poetry Festival will also present its distinctive program of collaborative work combining poetry and art on Saturday, Oct. 16. An all-arts festival with poetry as the driving force, the event combines variety show, art exhibit, poetry walk, and literary showcase, and is made possible with support from The Maine Review, the City of Belfast, the Belfast Free Library, and the office of the Belfast Poet Laureate. For more information and full contest details, see