6th Annual Maine Postmark Poetry Contest: open to Anyone in Maine this Summer!

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 October 16 & 17, 2015. 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.

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 2015; winning poems will also 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 showcase reading, Friday, October 16, 2015.

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 or visit our Facebook page.

Submission Info

To enter, submit one poem of up to two (2) 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.

Submissions are welcome from now until August 8, 2015; only submissions received with a Maine postmark dated August 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 please do not send originals or a SASE. Winners will be notified by September 15; other confirmation of receipt should not be expected.

Send entries 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 Belfast Poetry Festival celebrates poetry and artistic possibility.

One of the few community-based, non-academic literary festivals in the country, the Festival is an inclusive and collaboration-driven event that gives poets, artists, and audience broad opportunity to make connections, share ideas, and discover possibilities for the arts beyond the merely expected.

The Festival joins poets and artists in collaborative work that stretches the limits of each medium.

We bring together established, recognized poets and emerging voices, a broad range of genres and techniques, poets from different regions across the state, and a mix of the familiar and the innovative.

Annual Celebration

The Belfast Poetry Festival began in 2004 under the auspices of Festivo, a small steering committee that later disbanded. It has been run by the current Belfast Poet Laureate (appointed by the Belfast City Council) and a Waldo County steering committee of volunteers each October since then, and is one of the few community-based, non-academic literary festivals in the country. All events are free or low cost to the public.

Activities have included poetry readings, workshops, art exhibits, evening performances, poetry contests, and book displays by Maine bookstores, publishers, and authors. A highlight of the festival is a curated show of collaborative projects between poets and visual and/or performing artists in Belfast galleries and other venues. These 9 artist/poet teams are chosen by the Poet Laureate and Steering Committee and consists of professionally recognized Maine artists and poets. The teams’ projects are displayed for the month of October in local galleries and coordinated with Belfast’s First Friday Art Walks. During the Festival weekend, audience members move from gallery to gallery to see the artwork and hear the poetry read live. Projects have included sculpture, musical performance, dance, painting, printmaking and broadsides, book arts, and installations.

2014 Steering Committee:

Ellen Sander
Brenda Harrington
Karin Spitfire
Lauren Murray
Jacob Fricke


All Festival events are free and open to the public, with donations encouraged.

Donations can be made out to the City of Belfast and mailed to:

Jacob Fricke
Belfast Poetry Festival
P.O. Box 911
Belfast ME 04915

For more information, keep checking this site for regular updates, or contact us.

Or follow us on Facebook!

2014 Poets & Artists

Celebrity guest poet Adam GottliebGUEST CELEBRITY POET
Adam Gottlieb
is a teaching-artist, and community organizer from Chicago. His life was radically changed in high school by the Louder Than A Bomb youth poetry slam festival where he learned the power of spoken word as a tool for self-expression, community building, youth empowerment, and social justice. He is a featured poet in the 2009 documentary, Louder Than A Bomb.

He graduated from Hampshire College in 2012 with a concentration in critical/engaged pedagogy. He is a co-founder of the new Chicago chapter of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade, a network of artists dedicated to grassroots activism and human rights; and also of the Royal Souls open mic in the Roger’s Park neighborhood of Chicago. He has also writes poetry and articles for the People’s Tribune, an independent political newspaper. He is one of 6 Chicago writers sent to the 2014 Kapittel International Festival of Literature and Freedom of Speech in Norway.

Algorithm is an ambient music trio that uses a combination of performance poetry and jazz improvisation to create unique moods and soundscapes featuring both electronic and acoustic media. Algorithm has finished their first recording, Underneath Oblivion, which is currently in post-production.

Shana Bloomstein danced creatively as a teenager under the guidance of Arthur Hall, Sara Yarborough, and in the Stella Dance Theatre. She studied dance at Hampshire College, was an original member of Blacksmith’s Daughter Dance Theatre Co. She currently works full-time as a PTA, LMT and teaches dance and yoga to both children and adults. She works in collaboration with Terra Diddle Collective, LEAP, and The Part Time Buddhas/After Nirvana.

Michael R. Brown started what became Dr. Brown’s Traveling Poetry Show, a two-hour stage presentation of original poetry by a troupe of 15 poets. He holds a Ph.D. in English and Education from the University of Michigan. He and Valerie Lawson publish Off the Coast, ‘Maine’s International Poetry Journal.’ They teach poetry at the Sunrise Senior College at U-Maine, Machias, and in workshops at the Cobscook Community Learning Center in Trescott.

Kristen Case teaches courses in American Literature, environmental writing, and the intersection of 20th and 21st century American literature and philosophy. She has published articles on Henry David Thoreau, Robert Frost and Ezra Pound and is the author of American Pragmatism and Poetic Practice: Crosscurrents from Emerson to Susan Howe (Camden House, 2011). Her poems have appeared in Chelsea, The Brooklyn Review, Pleiades, Saint Ann’s Review, The Iowa Review, and others. Her chapbook, Temple, was published in 2014 by Miel Books.

Megan Chaskey, founder of Heartways Music, is a poet, musician, yoga teacher, healing practitioner, mother of three and wife of poet/farmer Scott Chaskey. She teaches yoga currently at Ross School in East Hampton, NY, to the middle and high school students and at various venues in the area. Megan wears many hats, as she is also a poet, puppeteer, healer, craftsperson as well as a musician and teacher.

Scott Chaskey is a poet, farmer, and educator who for a quarter century has worked the land for the Peconic Land Trust at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, NY. A pioneer of the community farming movement, he is past president of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York and author of This Common Ground, a memoir. He lives in Sag Harbor, NY.

Maryjean Viano Crowe fashions garments in The Language of Clothing, where clothes function as surrogates for the “self,” expresing ideas about love, ralationships, and emotions. Her installations have been in numerous private and museum collections, including the Polaroid International Collection and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. and many museums. She received a 1995 National Endowment for the Arts in Photography, and a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Fellowship in 1987, a grant for which she was also a three time Finalist.

Cheryl Daigle is a poet, photographer, and ecologist. Her poetry and nature writing have appeared in Orion, The Bangor Daily News, Quoddy Tides, The Maine Scholar, and other publications. She has taught at the Annual Writing Workshop/Conference in honor of Rachel Carson in Boothbay and with the MWPA. Her photography has appeared in the Fields Pond Nature Center, the Bangor Artwalk, and numerous publications of the Maine Sea Grant. She currently works with the Penobscot River Restoration Trust.

Douglass DeCandia is from the Lower Hudson Valley of New York. For the past 4 years he has been running a vegetable farm and vocational training for at risk youth, incarcerated adults, and students through his county Food Bank. The farm and the work have allowed him the space to put into form his everyday thinking and feelings, which he has, for the past 3 years, been putting into prose and poetry.

Noah Dudley of Freedom is a deep ecologist, gardener, and human rights activist. He has spent years working in solidarity with those struggling against imperialism, war and occupation in their own land. His writing and poetry reflect the stories and deeper understanding given him through his work with these communities, as well as from the communities of green and wild things in these beloved woods of Maine. It is about healing, and about retelling our sacred stories to keep our spirits alive through dark times.

Kathleen Ellis is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Narrow River to the North. She has won the Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod Magazine and the Southwest Review poetry prize. A recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maine Arts Commission, she teaches English and Honors at the University of Maine in Orono. Poems from her latest manuscript, Dear Darwin, have been set to music by composer Scott Brickman, and recorded on CD.

Jacob Fricke has performed poetry both up on the stage and out in the streets. He currently appears as the performance poet “vocalist” for Algorithm. He has twice been a featured poet at the Belfast Poetry Festival, in 2008 and 2010. He served as the Poet Laureate of Belfast from 2011 to 2012, and currently runs and emcees Belfast’s Poetry Slams. He is the author of This BOOK of POEMS You Found from The Illuminated Sea Press.

Rachel Contreni Flynn born in Paris, was raised in a small farming town in Indiana. Her second full-length collection of poetry, Tongue (Red Hen Press, 2010) won the Benjamin Saltman Award. Her chapbook, Haywire, was published by Bright Hill Press in 2009, and her first book, Ice, Mouth, Song, was published in 2005 by Tupelo Press, after winning the Dorset Prize. She taught poetry at Northwestern University for several years before moving to Gorham, Maine. She is on the editorial board of the Beloit Poetry Journal.

Beatrix Gates’ new collection Dos is out. Gates & Electa Arenal translated Jesús Aguado’s The Poems of Vikram Babu and shared a Witter Bynner Award. As librettist for The Singing Bridge, Gates received NEA and Maine Community Fund support with composer Anna Dembska for the premiere at the Stonington Opera House. Gates has been a poetry fellow at the MacDowell Colony and UCross and founded Granite Press (1976-1989) in Penobscot, Maine.

The Gawler Sisters’ newest album, Home Again, Home Again, brings fresh interpretations to traditional folk songs. With their infectious spirit and sparkling musicianship, and with several CD’s to their credit, the Gawlers have earned a beloved place in the delighted hearts of varied audiences across the Northeast.

Edith Gawler brings to the ensemble her rich low harmonies and musicianship on banjo and fiddle. Her thesis at Syracuse U. looked to the principles of the local sustainable food movement as a model for a new architecture. Now, she works as the Design Manager at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm. Edith & Bennett Konesni perform together and teach worksong workshops all over the Northeast, which seek to put the culture back into agriculture and find the joy to make hard labor feel more meaningful.

Elsie Gawler incorporates cello into folk music with a range of chops, backup rhythms and innovative chord structures. Fiddle music is deeply embedded in her musical sensibilities, and she delivers jigs and reels with the cello as easily as she backs the band on the low end. Currently at North Branch Farm, Elsie is learning agrarian arts and back-to-the-land living with her two Percheron draft horses and her partner Tyler Yentes and family. She is an avid painter, spinner, knitter and potter.

Molly Gawler of Droplet Dance studied Vaganova ballet with Andrei Bossov and various styles at SUNY Purchase Conservatory. In New York she danced with “CorbinDances” and “Noa Dance.» She started with Pilobolus Dance Theater in 2006 and in 2007 was part of the Academy Awards. She danced the lead in Pilobolus’s Shadowland, which toured globally. She continued her movement studies with the Cyr Wheel and Rope at the New England Center for Circus Arts. She plays fiddle, banjo and sings with the “Gawler Family Band” and “The Gawler Sisters.”

Diane Green-Hebert creates out of the stillness and into the now. Educated at the Vancouver School of Art, the UK’s Slade School of Art, and with master Japanese paper maker Richard Lee, Diane creates masks and wall sculpture out of clay with a surface of photo image in encaustic and of Japanese Kozo fibre embedded with plant materials. Her work appears at the Mars Hall Gallery and in private collections in the UK, USA, and Canada.

Arielle Greenberg is author of My Kafka Century, and Given, the forthcoming Slice and creative nonfiction Locally Made Panties, and others. She is co-author of Home/Birth: A Poemic, and co-editor of three anthologies, including Gurlesque. Her poems and essays have been featured in anthologies including Best American Poetry and she writes a regular column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review. She is the recipient of a MacDowell Colony fellowship and a Saltonstall Individual Artist Grant. A former tenured professor in poetry at Columbia College Chicago, she now lives in Maine and teaches in the community and in Oregon State University-Cascades’ MFA.

Megan Grumbling is a poet, educator, and critic. Her poetry can be found in Poetry, The Iowa Review, Crazyhorse, The Antioch Review, Unsplendid, Angle, and other journals; was awarded a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship; and received a Robert Frost Foundation Award. She reviews plays and books for the Portland Phoenix, and is reviews editor of The Café Review. Her film Carrying Place screened at the Maine International and Coney Island film festivals in 2013. She teaches writing at SMCC and UNE.

MaJo Keleshian works with Yupo paper and water-soluble/wax crayon in a unique process of layering wet and dry colors, rubbing, and repeating until subtle areas of translucent color combine with denser areas of waxy pigment, making images that invoke and recall forms in nature. MaJo’s work has appeared at Kevin Alger in New York, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the Farnsworth, the UMaine Museum of Art, and many others. MaJo teaches at the University of Maine in Orono.

Bennett Konesni is Founder of Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, a 243-acre educational farm on Shelter Island, NY on a piece of land retained by his family since 1652. His roles there include teaching worksongs to the farm crew and directing the annual fall festival Plant & Sing. As a student at Middlebury College, Bennett co-founded the student farm, and majored in Music, Anthropology and Environmental Studies, and upon graduation he was awarded a Thomas J Watson fellowship to spend a year studying worksongs on three continents.

Joel Lipman studied the craft of poetry with Gwendolyn Brooks and James Wright. Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Toledo, Joel is the previous Poet Laureate of Lucas County, Ohio and a summer resident of Northport. His poems appeared in Poetry in 2008 and 2011.

Valerie Lawson was twice nominated for a Pushcart and won awards for Best Narrative Poem and Spoken Word at the Cambridge Poetry Awards. In 2008, she was invited as a Legacy Poet to the first Women of the World Poetry Slam in Detroit. Lawson and her partner, Michael Brown, co-edit Off the Coast literary journal. Lawson is a member of the board of directors of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. Her book Dog Watch was released in 2007.

Carolyn Locke, long-time educator at Mount View High School, has work in Puckerbrush Review, Off the Coast, Anthology of the Live Poets Society, and The Café Review, and was on the board of directors of the Live Poets Society for several years. Her poem “Regeneration” was selected for Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry. Her books include Not One Thing: Following Matsuo Basho’s Narrow Road to the Interior, a haibun that weaves prose, haiku, and photography, and Always This Falling.

Caroline Losneck is an audio producer, documentarian, and full time explorer. Fyke Tide, her installation with Christoph Gelfand about baby eel fishermen of Southern Maine, premiered at the Camden International Film Festival. Her installation Temporary Homes featured sound collage and oral histories of people living in the rough at Hobo Jungle in Portland. She’s a member of 90.9FM Southern Maine Community Radio, a regular contributor to GhettoBlaster Magazine, and a freelance producer for MPBN.

Tom Luther of Algorithm is a pianist and composer, working equally in acoustic and electronic media. His jazz album, Everything Is Blue, was released in 2012, and his group, the Tom Luther Quintet, has performed at the Free Range Festival, Aarhus Gallery, Ginko Blue, and River Tree Arts. He is an active participant in the online communal music group “Disquiet Junto”, and frequently posts his work on both Band Camp and Soundcloud.

Isaiah Mansour is a 19-year-old American-Lebanese Jew with an afro who plays bass, studies squid, writes poetry, and loves every minute of it. He uses his bass and a complex network of electronics to create sonic backdrops for his poetry. He started playing bass in 4th grade, and has been in countless groups since, including many UMaine ensembles. New to poetry as a freshman in the Marine Biology & Aquaculture program at Orono, he went to a slam at the University and won. Now he’s here, and he’s only just begun.

Denis Nye is a composer living in Portland, Maine. He first studied in Jazz Studies at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music as a Bass performer, then at the University of Iowa, where he discovered his passion for the art of composition. He went on to study at the University of Chicago, Juilliard, in search of his own compositional language. Denis has composed music for theater productions by Acorn Productions and Mad Horse Theatre Company, scored the short film Carrying Place, performed his own compositions at the Port-Fringe and Sacred and Profane Festivals.

Mark Melnicove teaches creative writing, literature, and permaculture at Falmouth High School, in Falmouth, Maine. His poems have been published recently in Agni, Gargoyle, Otoliths, and VLAK. For many years he was editor/publisher of The Dog Ear Press and Tilbury House, as well executive director of The Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. During the 80’s and 90’s he was Bern Porter’s publisher and performance poetry partner. He now serves as Porter’s literary executor.

Dave Morrison was born outside of Boston. At the age of seventeen he found himself playing guitar in a rock band in the Worst Bar on the Planet (the Laconia Lounge in Lowell MA - look it up) and discovered that he had a strange affection for both rock & roll and bars. At age forty he became a college freshman at the New School University in NYC studying writing with David Hajdu, Matthew Roher and Sharon Mesmer. Now he lives on the coast of Maine with his wife Susan and writes poems.

Jefferson Navicky is a writer and teacher living outside Freeport, Maine. His work has appeared in Hobart, Quickfiction, The New Guard, Tarpaulin Sky, and others. As a playwright, Jefferson’s plays have been produced in Port Fringe, The Boston Theater Marathon, A Night of Apocalyptic Theater at The Players’ Ring in Portsmouth, and The Maine Playwright’s Festival. Black Lodge Press published his chapbook, Map of the Second Person. Vanishing Points will be published in 2014 by Ravenna Press.

The mission of Off the Coast is to be recognized around the world as Maine’s international poetry journal, a publication that prizes quality, diversity and honesty in its publications and in its dealings with poets. Off the Coast began as an extension of the Live Poets Society in Rockland, Maine in 1989. Maintaining its commitment to regional and youth poets, Off the Coast believes small presses and literary magazines are the lifeblood and testing ground for all writers.

Marita O’Neill has published two chapbooks of her poetry: Evidence of Light from Moonpie Press and Love Dogs from StrikeStudios. She teaches high school English at Yarmouth High School.

Steven Pane is professor of music in the Department of Sound, Performance, and Visual Inquiry at the University of Maine Farmington. A pianist with a strong interest in sound and interdisciplinary studies, Pane curates and performs new iterations of musical works in collaboration with individuals from other fields. Recent projects include Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, a new context for Schumann’s Carnaval (with poet Jeffery Thomson and video artist Dawn Nye); and The Ecstasy of Always Bursting Forth, a re-envisioning of Bach’s Goldberg Variations with literary scenes (with author Patricia O’Donnell).

Bern Porter was born on Valentine’s Day, 1911, in Porter Settlement, Houlton, Maine. In 1922 he invented mail art. In 1935 he invented TV. In 1942 he invented Henry Miller. In 1945 he invented the atom bomb. In 1950 he invented found poetry. In 1958 he invented Ray Johnson. In 1959 he invented artist’s books. In 1960 he invented Dick Higgins. In 1961 he invented the Wastemaker. In 1965 he invented the Saturn moon rocket. In 1966 he invented 468B Thy Future. In 1971 he invented Something Else Press. In 1975 he reinvented Wilhelm Reich’s orgone energy. In 1980 he invented The Eternal Poetry Festival with Mark Melnicove. In 1992 he invented Roger Jackson and a one-night stand with Anais Nin. In 2000 he was named the first poet laureate of Belfast. In 2004 he invented his death. In 2014 he invented his resurrection.

Christopher Robley is the 2013 winner of Boulevard’s Emerging Poets Prize. His work has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, and others. As a singer/songwriter, his orchestral indie-pop and fractured folk music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, Boston Globe, and many more. He now lives in Portland, Maine after a decade in Portland, Oregon – because obviously he likes Portlands.

Kris Sader is a printmaker and environmental site-specific installation artist. As a printmaker she uses non-toxic, healthy and environment friendly, printmaking methods, which she helped research at the University of Maine. She was a recipient of an Artist Fellowship at Women’s Studio Workshop, New York, a “Good Idea Grant” from the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) and an Artist in Residence at the Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor.

Belfast Poet Laureate Ellen Sander came to Belfast by way of Beijing, leaving a string of published works and shattered poetics in her wake. She was a pioneering rock journalist and wrote Trips: Rock Life in the Sixties. Her poetry began to mature during her years in Bolinas, California, where she lived among such inspirations as Robert Creeley and Joanne Kyger. Her work has been included in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, Vogue, Social Anarchism, and Chiron Review.

T LOVE SMITH is the founder of the Poet Rising Project, a collective of visual and performance artists from Portland, of the Rhythmic Cypher Poetry Slam, which competed in the National Poetry Slam in 2009, 2013, and 2014 and in the Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2014, and a co-founder of the Imagine Unity Poetry Slam at Unity College. T Love’s work has been published in Moon Pie Press, Passion and Pride Anthology, and multiple chapbooks. T Love is most passionate about teaching poetry to English Language Learners which she does through The Telling Room, LA Arts, Portland Housing Authority, and other projects.

Martin Steingesser’s poems whisper, shout and occasionally slam. He’s author of Brothers of Morning and The Thinking Heart: the Life & Loves of Etty Hillesum, based on Hillesum’s journal and letters, composed for performance in two voices with cello, an ensemble which recently toured Europe, including at Auschwitz-Birkenau. He has taught poetry workshops throughout Maine for 34 years; and his 5th and 6th grade poetry slam teams from Lewiston have placed first in interstate competitions. He was Portland"s first Poet Laureate, 2007-09.

Doug Von is an award-winning painter and installation artist who’s had recent exhibitions at Running with Scissors Gallery and Slainte in Portland, in addition to a number of venues in New Jersey. As a freelance graphic designer he’s also created plenty of freaky band posters and album packages, to say nothing of the drawings and paintings he makes happen as his super-secret alter-ego.

Mike Whitehead of Algorithm is a first call trumpeter, and owner/operator of Kat Trax Recording in Thomaston, Maine. His album Habitat is available through Band Camp, and he is the leader of the Mike Whitehead Group, People of Earth, and a frequent sideman with local pickup groups. Mike teaches at the Bay Chamber Schools.

2014 Workshops

The 2014 Belfast Poetry Festival is pleased to present various workshops during the morning and afternoon of Saturday,
October 18

This year’s workshops presenters are Ellen Sander, Kathleen Ellis, Joel Lipman, TLove and the Poet Rising collective, Martin Steingesser, Arielle Greenberg, Bea Gates, & featured guest celebrity poet Adam Gottlieb (pictured on the right).

All workshops are $25 per person, and preregistration is required, as attendance is limited.

For 2014, all workshops are free to high school and college students,
though preregistration is still required. If you are a student, you may register by emailing Jacob Fricke the school you attend and the workshops you’d like to take.

Please send $25 checks, made payable to “City of Belfast,” to:
Jacob Fricke
Belfast Poetry Festival
P.O. Box 911
Belfast, ME 04915


Ellen Sander | 9-11 am | Belfast Free Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room

Don’t just recite that poem, re-excite it! There’s a reason you wrote it or found it and love it enough to read it aloud, so make that reading radiate.

Performance poet Ellen Sander, the Poet Laureate of Belfast, will coach the heights and depths and drama, the humor, the pathos and the vibrancy out of your poem and your performance. Bring something you want to read ravishingly. Have stage fright? Lose it here. We’ll map out your poem, work on your confidence and impulses, explore theatrical exercises and elements of performance art to put you on the road to an unforgettable performance.

A maximum of 8 students for this workshop so everyone can get personal attention and work in a close group.


Kathleen Ellis | 9-11 am | Waterfall Arts, Dance Annex

From Dickinson’s poems referencing the Civil War to Blake’s outrage over the blight of the Industrial Revolution, poets have responded to the events of the world around them. In this workshop, we will explore the poetic imagination of several socially, environmentally, and politically engaged poets, such as Denise Duhamel’s responses to 9/11, Harryette Mullen’s tankas on the interface between urban and natural environments, Linh Dinh and Bernadette Mayer’s poems that satirize official rhetoric, Kimiko Hahn’s poems triggered by science, and Zurita’s writing in the sands of Chile’s Atacama Desert. Generative exercises will kickstart new poems and ways of engaging the world. Open to all levels of writers.


Joel Lipman, moderator | 9-11 am | Belfast Free Library, Abbott Room

A panel discussion investigating useful strategies for establishing and building both communities of poets and communities for poetry.

Lucas County, Ohio Poet Laureate (and Bayside resident) Joel Lipman leads a panel discussion of poets, laureates, and community leaders to consider the possibilities, challenges, and rewards when poets work collaboratively with artists, organizations, and communities.

Questions and topics considered are likely to include: how to establish and build strong, supportive poetry communities; partnership building; selecting and developing venues to nourish a “scene”; audience building; creating event series; community instruction and opportunities for community education; seeking out underutilized, overlooked resources and creatively restoring them through poetry; poetry and community restoration, growth, and re-generation.

This is a free event.


TLove and the Poet Rising collective | 1-3 pm | Waterfall Arts, Fallout Shelter

This lively session is designed to allow capacity for the poetry muse to move through participants by engaging each in interactive and expressive writing and body language prompts and exercises to awaken the emotive poetic spirit in all of us. This dynamic workshop will combine fun individual and collaborative writing and performance techniques to help increase each participant’s vault of prowess for thriving as a poetry performance artist.


Martin Steingesser | 1-3 pm | Belfast Free Library, Abbott Room

A poem in the air is not the same poem as it was on the page—the drama and charm of its unfolding is completely, particularly alive and intimate as it passes from one body into another… —Tony Hoagland

Poetry Rites is a workshop for exploring voice in our writing and the pleasures of speaking and hearing poems. If memorization is an act of folding back into oneself what was alone and apart, so that it becomes oneself, the speaking of poems is a rite through which what one body blesses with ressurection passes to and invests another.

The workshop will begin with a short performance by Martin and a video of an award-winning slam poetry team of Lewiston sixth graders he taught writing and coached to victory in competitions with local schools and against a Bronx, New York team. Workshop participants will be invited to present a poem at any stage of development for coaching, either read or spoken by heart.

The Greeks thought Memory the mother of the muses, that all nine daughters of creativity were born of Memory. By memory, it is doubtful they meant only memorization but the deep memory of what it means to be fully aware, fully human. Poetry then, one of the great disciplines of memory, may be thought of as “a form of rescue of the deeper self, that as you …speak it you are actually bringing this enormous energy to the surface again, back into conversation with the world. —David Whyte


Arielle Greenberg | 1-3 pm | Waterfall Arts, Dance Annex
Eight students maximum.

With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck / And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack. “Daddy” —Sylvia Plath

Poets from Yeats to Eliot to Plath have delved into the powerful imagery and archetypes of the tarot deck, and contemporary poets are still using it as a pathway to vibrant language and self-awareness. In this workshop, we’ll look at some examples of recent published work that employ or reference the tarot, then follow writing assignments based on playing with various decks Arielle will provide. This will be a generative workshop—we’ll be writing new poems, not workshopping existing ones—and the focus will be on making sharp, specific, exciting, deep-reaching poems using the tarot as a guide, muse and reflection tool, not as a method of fortune telling or divination. Ultimately, this is a workshop that will challenge you to new levels of self-knowledge and verbal acumen: the tarot is simply a way to get there. Open to writers at any level; just bring an open mind, your intellectual curiosity, personal inquiry and your love of language. (If you have your own favorite tarot deck, feel free to bring it along, too.)


Bea Gates | 1-3 pm | Belfast Free Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room

We will look at how the form of the fable provides ever-widening meanings in a circle and/or in a tight concentration. Parable, poem and song often use repetition and simple, stark language to carve new forms of questioning. We will create fables through exercises pulled from samples. Open to all, regardless of experience.

FEATURE GUEST WORKSHOP: Imagining a Future Utopia, or: Evoking Poetic Justice Through Irony

Adam Gottlieb | 3:30-5 PM | Hutchinson Center Auditorium

Pursuing the question, “what would a world with (poetic) justice look like?”, this session leads writers to examine how irony can be used to expose social injustice, and to write poems in which they visualize changes they wish to see in the world. Using models from Martin Espada, Lupe Fiasco, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and others, this workshop provides exercise, equally, in the poetic and the political imagination.

Gallery Hunt 2014

Our unique festival scavenger-hunt styled showcase of Maine Postmark Poetry Competition winners!

Enjoy the profusion of Belfast’s downtown art gallery exhibitions, take in the first prize poem and the 9 other finalists at your own pace, as part of the 10th Annual Belfast Poetry Festival.

During the month of October, beginning with the First Friday Art Walk, Friday, October 3, and up until the end of the Festival, Saturday, October 18, the ten finalist poems from the 2014 Maine Postmark Poetry Contest will be on display in Belfast art galleries.

The winners of the 5th annual Maine Postmark Poetry Contest can be found at the following galleries:

Kramer Gallery, Belfast Free Library,
Mill, Kristen Lindquist, Camden, 1st Place

Fresh Cup Gallery, 33 Main Street,
No One Said Goodbye, Arnold Greenberg, Blue Hill, 2nd Place

Daniel Anselmi, 75 Main St, Upstairs,
Feral, Mary Dowd, Yarmouth, 3rd Place

Belfast Framer& Betts Gallery, 96 Main St., behind Yo Mama's,
Attainment, Kathryn Robyn, Belfast, Honorable Mention

Brambles, 2 Cross St.,
Gone Coastal, Russell Buker, Alexander, Finalist

Aarhus Gallery, 50 Main St.,
The Liberator, Darcy Shargo, Palermo, Finalist

Square the Circle, 137 High St. Upstairs,
Persian Elegy, Doug Woodsum, Smithfield, Finalist

Harbor Artisans Gallery, 50 Main St.,
Dalton, Charles Brown, Owls Head, Finalist

High Street Studio & Gallery, 149 High St.,
Meleagris Gallopavo (Wild Turkey), Judy Kaber, Belfast, Finalist

Art Alliance, 39 Main Street,
Boggle Hole, 12/28/2012, Jay Franzel, Wayne, Finalist

2014 Participating Addresses

A] Downtown Belfast Maine [map]

B] The Hutchinson Center
80 Belmont Avenue (Route #3), Belfast, Maine
207-338-8000 / Toll Free: 1-800-753-9044
website »

The Hutchinson Center is less than 2 miles from downtown Belfast, and there is plenty of free parking. Galleries, restaurants and shops are all within striking distance of the Festival venue.

Aarhus Gallery
50 Main Street, Belfast, Maine
website »

American Legion Hall, Post #43
143 High Street, Belfast, Maine
facebook page

Art Alliance Gallery
39 Main St # 1B, Belfast, Maine
website »

The Belfast Framer & Betts Gallery
96 Main Street, Belfast, Maine
website »

The Belfast Free Library
106 High Street, Belfast, Maine
website »

69 Main Street, Belfast, Maine
facebook page »

Daniel Anselmi’s Studio
75 Main Street, Belfast, Maine
website »  

Fresh Cup Gallery
33C Main Street, Belfast, Maine
facebook page »

Harbor Artisans Gallery
60 Main Street, Belfast, Maine
website »

High Street Studio & Gallery
149 High Street, Belfast, Maine
website »  

Square the Circle
137 High Street, upstairs, Belfast, Maine
website »

Waterfall Arts
256 High Street, Belfast, Maine
website »

Location Map

Belfast Poetry Festival Map


2014 Festival Supporters

Support for the Belfast Poetry Festival is greatly appreciated. In appreciation we list supporters and link to their website.

City of Belfast
Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance
Hutchinson Center
Maine Community Foundation
Front Street Shipyard
Bangor Savings Bank
Belfast Free Library
Waterfall Arts


  • City of Belfast
  • Bangor Savings Bank
  • Front Street Shipyard
  • Maine Community Foundation
  • Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance
  • WERU
  • Waterfall Arts Center


Love poetry, art & music? Want to be a part of the 2014 weekend activities? Why not volunteer? It’s a great way to contribute to a unique occasion and meet people.

Contact us and tell us how you would like to help.

Contact Us

For questions, suggestions, or general info please feel free to contact us.

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  • For general festival info: jacob [at] belfastpoetry.com
  • To contact the Webmaster: catlin.barnes [at] gmail.com
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