The 17th annual Belfast Poetry Festival combines words, images and performance

The annual Belfast Poetry Festival marks its 17th year with a plate full of poetry, community and artistic opportunity on Saturday 15 October in the theater at Troy A. Howard Middle School, 173 Lincolnville Avenue in Belfast. An all-arts festival in which poetry is the driving force, the event is a one-part variety show, one-part short film festival, one-part art exhibition and one-part literary showcase part. All events, except workshops, are free and open to the public.

The annual celebration includes live music, live readings, artwork screenings, multimedia presentations, and more.

The lineup includes poet Linda Buckmaster and the Elemental Players (Linda Garson Smith, Beverly Mann, Meg Nickerson, Scott Smith and Gail Wartell) as well as violinist Sarah Hughes; poet Ian-Khara Ellasante and visual artist Norma Randi Smith; poet and visual artist Mihku Paul and video artist Dawn Nye; poet Catherine Weiss and visual artist Stephen Burt; poet and photographer Meg Weston and photographer John Paul Caponigro; and poet Beau Williams and musician Wesley Covey.

In addition to poetry, visual and performing arts collaborations, the 2022 festival will include readings of Maine Postmark Poetry Contest winning poems:

First place winner Meredith Thomas, Portland, “Body”;
Runner-up winner Matt Bernier, Pittsfield, “The Audit”;
Third place winner Michael Foran, Wells, “The Garden”;
Honorable Mention Jeri Theriault, South Portland, “Self-Portrait as Homestead”; and
Honorable Mention Bruce Willard, West Boothbay Harbor, “City of Dogs”.

Other finalists include Lenora Jackson, Rockland, “This is not an authorized biography”;
Leslie Moore, Belfast, ‘How Spatchcock a Poem’;
Anne Rankin, Brunswick, “unsaid”;
David Villano, Jefferson, “Don’t Blame the Beatniks”; and
Douglas “Woody” Woodsum, Smithfield, “A Quieter Port”

This year’s festival also includes a Pop-Up Reading at the United Farmers Market, 18 Spring Street in Belfast on Saturday 15 October, 10am-11am, produced in conjunction with Senior College Belfast. This is a free reading and participants are encouraged to bring a poem to share.

The 2022 festival workshop offerings include two workshops held at the Belfast Free Library, 106 High Street, Belfast, from 1-3pm: Elegy: Poetry Of Return, Poetry Of Mourning with Claire Millikin and A Walk On The Wild Side : Turning Animal Encounters Into Poetry & Art with Leslie Moore. Each workshop costs $25 and pre-registration is required. Check the festival website at for more details.

The main showcase reception will begin in the Troy A. Howard Middle School theater at 6 p.m. with the presentation of collaborative works and readings from the top competition winners from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Belfast Poetry Festival, one of the country’s few community-based, non-academic poetry festivals, is now in its 17th year. It is generously supported by The Maine Review, Belfast Free Library, City of Belfast, Waterfall Arts, Senior College Belfast, United Farmers Market of Maine and the Belfast Poet Laureate Office. For more information on this year’s events, the competition or other programs contact Jacob at [email protected] or visit

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