BELFAST — The annual Belfast Poetry Festival marks its 17th year with a full plate of poetry, community and artistic possibility Saturday, Oct. 15, in the theater of the Troy A. Howard Middle School, 173 Lincolnville Ave. An all-arts festival in which poetry is the driving force, the event is one-part variety show, one-part short film festival, one-part art exhibit, and one-part literary showcase. All events except workshops are free and open to the public.

The annual celebration features live music, live readings, projected artwork, multimedia presentations and more. The lineup includes poet Linda Buckmaster and the Elemental Players (Linda Garson Smith, Beverly Mann, Meg Nickerson, Scott Smith and Gail Wartell) as well as fiddler Sarah Hughes; poet Ian-Khara Ellasante and visual artist Norma Randi Smith; poet and visual artist Mihku Paul and video artist Dawn Nye; poet Catherine Weiss and visual artist Stephen Burt; poet and photographer Meg Weston and photographer John Paul Caponigro; and poet Beau Williams and musician Wesley Covey.

Maine Postmark Poetry Contest Judge Virginia Konchan.

In addition to poetry, visual art and performing arts collaborations, the 2022 festival will include readings of the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest winning poems: First Place Winner Meredith Thomas, Portland, “body”; Second Place Winner Matt Bernier, Pittsfield, “The Audit”; Third Place Winner Michael Foran, Wells, “The Garden”; Honorable Mention Jeri Theriault, South Portland, “Self-Portrait as Homestead”; and Honorable Mention Bruce Willard, West Boothbay Harbor, “City of Dogs.” Other finalists include Lenora Jackson, Rockland, “This is not an Authorized Biography”; Leslie Moore, Belfast, “How to Spatchcock a Poem”; Anne Rankin, Brunswick, “left unsaid”; David Villano, Jefferson, “Don’t Blame the Beatniks”; and Douglas “Woody” Woodsum, Smithfield, “A Quieter Harbor.”

This year’s festival also includes a pop-up reading at the United Farmers Market, 18 Spring St., Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 to 11 a.m., produced in collaboration with Senior College at Belfast. This is an open reading, and participants are encouraged to bring a poem to share.

The 2022 festival’s workshop offerings include two workshops held at the Belfast Free Library, 106 High St., from 1 to 3 p.m.: “Elegy: Poetry Of Return, Poetry Of Mourning” with Claire Millikin and “A Walk On The Wild Side: Turning Animal Encounters Into Poetry & Art” with Leslie Moore. Each workshop is $25 and preregistration is required. See the festival website at for full details.

The reception for the main showcase will begin in the theater of the Troy A. Howard Middle School at 6 p.m. with the presentation of collaborative work and the readings of the top contest winners from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The Belfast Poetry Festival, one of the few community-based, non-academic poetry festivals in the country, is now in its 17th year. It is generously supported by The Maine Review, the Belfast Free Library, the City of Belfast, Waterfall Arts, Senior College at Belfast, the United Farmers Market of Maine, and the office of the Belfast Poet Laureate. For more information on this year’s events, the contest, or other programming, contact Jacob at or go to

“The Letter D” by Stephen Burt.

“Poor Wolf – Younger” by Norma Randi Smith.

Still from “Gravity” by Dawn Nye.

Workshop leaders Leslie Moore, left, and Claire Millikin.