Belfast seeks its next poet laureate

Nov 19, 2018

Belfast — The City of Belfast, as it does every two years, is searching for a local poet to serve as Belfast's Poet Laureate. The successful applicant will be Belfast's 10th Poet Laureate; it has been an official city designation since 2007, when then mayor/now-Councilor Mike Hurley created the position.

Poet laureate applicants must be a resident of Belfast or one of the abutting towns of Belmont, Morrill, Northport, Swanville, Searsport or Waldo with no allowed expenses, except that the poet laureate may choose to have business cards printed at the city’s expense; and may apply for grants that benefit the community. The title of Poet Laureate may be used after the poet’s name for literary uses, i.e. on books, posters and resumes, but not for commercial enterprises.

The job description is as follows: be Belfastian, a clever, productive, thoughtful, colorful and a well-worded poet to express and convey a poet’s vision of Belfast. This is a chance to combine art with public service. The poet laureate is expected to organize poetry activities and to serve on the Steering Committee of the annual Belfast Poetry Festival. They should be prepared to be stopped on the street to answer deep questions about poetry; maintain a welcoming atmosphere for both emerging and established poets; and be the “public poet” of Belfast, the Biggest Little Poetry Town in Maine.

The term is to run two years, beginning on New Year’s Day (unless circumstances require a different date). The position will end on New Year’s Eve two years later.

Applicants or nominated poets are asked to send a one-page letter listing qualifications and vision for performing the duties of the Belfast Poet Laureate and attach a copy of one Belfast-oriented poem. The Poet Laureate Committee will review the applications/nominations and choose a Poet Laureate nominee. Applications or nomination must be sent to laureate@belfastpoetry.com before Monday, Dec. 10; put "Poet Laureate Nomination" in the subject line.

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

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