Belfast Poetry Festival weekend

Oct 09, 2013
Photo by: Tanya Mitchell This year's festival kicked off Oct. 4 with a Gallery Hunt for poetry.

Belfast — The ninth annual Belfast Poetry Festival offers a weekend of artistic energy. While downtown galleries already have festival-related work on display, events will take place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19, at the University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center on Route 3; Belfast Free Library, 106 High St.; and throughout downtown.

Among the offerings included in this year’s event are a Gallery Hunt, with winning poems from the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest displayed in downtown art galleries; a Poetry Performance Night featuring Portland’s Poet Rising collective, contest winners and an open reading; morning and afternoon workshops in poetry writing and performance; and the festival’s feature event, the “Poem to Behold” multimedia show of live action, full immersion artistic collaborations between 13 poets and 15 visual artists from across the state.

The weekend’s full slate of programming begins Friday at 7 p.m. in the library’s Abbott Room. Performance poetry from slam and spoken word poets of the Poet Rising collective of Portland will open Poetry performance Night with both group and solo performances. Next up will be the winner of this year’s Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, Marilyn Hotch of Camden, who will present her winning poem, “Mother,” followed by readings from second and third place finalists Darla Himeles of Castine and Kathryn Robyn of Belfast. An open reading will cap the evening, providing hands-on opportunities for poetry for all.

Saturday workshops

Several workshops in poetry writing and poetry performance will be offered Saturday, also at the library. Offered from 10 to 11:30 a.m. are: Poetic Models: Two Poets. Two Poems, a writing workshop with Joel Lipman; and Stand Up Poetry, a spoken word workshop with Belfast Poet Laureate Ellen Sander. Offered from 12:30 to 2 p.m. are: Making Poems Sizzle: Oblique Writing, a writing workshop with Rockland Poet Laureate Carol Bachofner; and a Spoken Word Workshop with slam poet Robin Merrill. Space is limited and pre-registration is required; to register, send $25 payable to “City of Belfast” to Jacob Fricke, Belfast Poetry Festival, P.O. Box 911, Belfast, ME 04915.

A hunting we will go

New to this year’s event is the Gallery Hunt, a poetic scavenger hunt through downtown Belfast art galleries and stores to find the top 10 finalist poems of the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, where the work is being displayed through the month of October. Gallery Hunt cards, available at Yo Mama’s Home and at the library, guide would-be poem hunters by listing the winning poems and participating venues, which include Åarhus, Belfast Free Library, Brambles, Daniel Anselmi’s Studio, Square the Circle Gallery, Harbor Artisans Gallery, Northern Lights Gallery, High Street Studio & Gallery, Raven’s Nest Gallery and the Betts Gallery.

Those who visit all 10 winning poems can redeem their annotated Gallery Hunt cards at Yo Mama’s Home for a free official Belfast Poetry Festival commemorative button, which features the 2013 festival banner image, “Bird Brain,” by festival artist Joan Proudman. Commemorative buttons also are for sale at Belfast bookstores including Bella Books and Left Bank Books; and at the Belfast Co-op.

“A Poem to Behold”

The festival’s keynote event, the “Poem to Behold” multimedia show, brings together artists and poets from across the state and joins them in a live action presentation of collaborative work that stretches the limits of each medium. This fast-paced, larger than life pageant of poetry and images will take place Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Hutchinson Center, preceded by food, drink and a mix-and-mingle at 4 p.m.

This year’s collaborative pairs include poet Gibson Fay-LeBlanc and the work of artist Paul Klee; poet Linda Buckmaster and calligraphic artist Jan Owen; poet Betsy Headley and painter Dianne Schelble; poet Jason Canniff and visual artist Ben Potter; dual poets and artists Kimberly Callas and Judy Perry; poet Lisa Panepinto and painter/assemblage artist Annadeene Konesni Fowler; poet, musician and hatmaker Toussaint St. Negritude, poet Leonore Hildebrandt and painter Heidi Daub; poet Lauren Murray and graphic artist Joan Proudman; poet Teresa Murray and watercolor artist Shirley Bell, printmaker Casey Weibust, and fabric artists Coral Hines and Anne Kuhn-Hines; poet Francois Amar and artist Kris Engman; and poet Thomas R. Moore and painter Jeff Loxterkamp.

It takes a village

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. Co-sponsored by the Belfast Free Library, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and the City of Belfast through the office of the Belfast Poet Laureate, the Belfast Poetry Festival’s events (except workshops) are free and open to the public, though donations are welcome and books and commemorative buttons will be available for sale. For more information, contact Jacob Fricke at or see full details online at or the fest’s Facebook page.

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

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