Belfast Poetry Festival brings words, images to the city

Posted Oct. 16, 2013, at 2:38 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — For one weekend each October — the time of year when, as Shakespeare put it, “when yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang” — the midcoast city turns its attention to the words on the page during the annual Belfast Poetry Festival.

This weekend, the ninth annual rendition of the festival is adding to those words with the feature “Poem to Behold” multimedia show, which will showcase on Saturday live action artistic collaborations between 13 poets and 15 visual artists from across the state.

Waldo County artists Kimberly Callas and Judy Perry are two collaborators. The women said recently that working together meant that both stepped outside their comfort zone with creative and interesting results.

“We wanted to see what would emerge,” Perry said. “Both of us doing something way beyond what we usually do.”

Perry’s art often incorporates images she keeps out of doors for a time, “so the weather works on them.” Callas works a lot with symbols. Together, they had conversations and spent time outside, figuring out their collaboration, which included plaster squares Callas cast directly into the ground. Perry found a piece of metal behind Callas’ studio in Brooks that she incorporated into her art.

“It’s exciting,” said Jacob Fricke, a former poet laureate of Belfast and the organizer of the festival. “One of the whole aspects of this is how unexpected and gratifyingly surprising the ideas are.”

Perry and Callas will present their works during the multimedia show.

Other elements of the festival include the “gallery hunt,” which Fricke described as a “poetic scavenger hunt through downtown Belfast to find the top 10 finalists of the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, and a performance night on Friday at the Belfast Free Library, which features the slam and spoken word poets of Portland’s Poet Rising collective.

“The poetry festival features both established, professionally recognized poets and emerging voices,” he said. “Since mixing is what the entire thing’s about, the festival becomes a place where all this talent, all these poets and artists, are very accessible, both to others in the field and to those curious in the audience. So, take the opportunity, come to the festival and meet a poet!”

For information about the festival, visit

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