BELFAST – The Belfast Poetry Festival, now in its ninth year, once again offers a gamut of ways to bring poetry alive with a full weekend of artistic energy, Friday and Saturday, October 18th and 19th, at the Hutchinson Center, the Belfast Free Library, and throughout downtown Belfast, Maine.
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, presenting live action, full immersion artistic collaborations between thirteen poets and fifteen visual artists from across the state.
The weekend’s full slate of programming begins with a Poetry Performance Night, Friday, October 18 at 7 PM in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Free Library. Performance poetry from slam and spoken word poets of the Poet Rising collective of Portland begins the evening with a full serving of group and solo performances. The night of readings continues with 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 follows, providing hands-on opportunities for poetry for all.
Several workshops in poetry writing and poetry performance will be offered Saturday at the Belfast Free Library. Morning workshops, from 10:00 to 11:30, include a writing workshop with Joel Lipman, Poetic Models: Two Poets. Two Poems, and a spoken word workshop with Belfast Poet Laureate Ellen Sander, Stand Up Poetry. Afternoon workshops, from 12:30 to 2:00, feature Rockland Poet Laureate Carol Bachofner leading a writing session, Making Poems Sizzle: Oblique Writing, and slam poet Robin Merrill leading a Spoken Word Workshop. 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.
New to this year’s event is the Gallery Hunt, a poetic scavenger hunt through downtown Belfast to find the top ten finalists of the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, whose work will be displayed throughout Belfast’s galleries and stores through the month of October. Gallery Hunt cards, available at Yo Mama’s Home and at the Belfast Free Library, guide would-be poem hunters by listing the winning poems and participating venues, which include Aarhus, The Belfast Free Library, Brambles, Daniel Anselmi’s Studio, the Square the Circle Gallery, the Harbor Artisans Gallery, the Northern Lights Gallery, the High Street Studio & Gallery, the Raven’s Nest Gallery, and the Betts Gallery. Gallery-goers who make the trek to visit all ten 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 are also for sale at Belfast bookstores, including Bella Books and Left Bank Books, and at the Belfast Co-op.
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 at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, Saturday, October 19 at 5 PM, with food, drink, and a mix & mingle at 4 PM. This year’s collaborative pairs include poet Gibson Fay-LeBlanc & the work of artist Paul Klee, poet Linda Buckmaster & calligraphic artist Jan Owen, poet Betsy Headley and painter Dianne Schelble, poet Jason Canniff & visual artist Ben Potter, dual poets and artists Kimberly Callas & Judy Perry, poet Lisa Panepinto & painter/assemblage artist Annadeene Konesni Fowler, poet, musician, and hatmaker Toussaint St. Negritude, poet Leonore Hildebrandt & painter Heidi Daub, poet Lauren Murray & 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 & artist Kris Engman, and poet Thomas R. Moore & painter Jeff Loxterkamp.
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, the 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. The Hutchinson Center, a branch of the University of Maine System, is located at 80 Belmont Avenue (Route 3) in Belfast. For more information, contact Jacob Fricke at firstname.lastname@example.org or see full details online at www.BelfastPoetry.com or www.Facebook.com/BelfastPoetryFestival.