As home to two of the state’s three city poet laureates, the Midcoast is a natural for National Poetry Month, the annual celebration of poetry that takes place every April.

Rockland leads the way with Poetry Month Rockland, now marking its fourth year. Begun as a collaboration of the city’s library and poet Carol W. Bachofner, currently Rockland Poet Laureate, Poetry Month Rockland still includes many library-based activities but also has such out-of-the-stacks features as poems on the pillows of Historic Inns of Rockland guests, poems in the windows of downtown businesses and the bilingual poetry reading at an art gallery begun by the city’s inaugural Poet Laureate, Kendall A. Merriam.

Belfast’s poetry month really is October, home to the annual Belfast Poetry Festival (the call for this year’s has just gone out), but the verse-centric city has a few events scheduled to tie into the national celebration. A revival of the Poets and Fools Costume Ball will start the month at Waterfall Arts; and the city’s five living poet laureates will assemble a week later for a special evening at Belfast Free Library. Current Belfast Poet Laureate Ellen Sander and several of her predecessors will be part of the 11th annual Poets/Speak event Tuesday, April 10, at Bangor Public Library.

Following is information on the local Poetry Month events, more of which are likely to pop up. Local bookstores and libraries can be expected to highlight their poetry collections, as well. For more information about the national observance, visit

April 1: Poetry Month Rockland opens with a poetry-inspired art show, featuring juried work on a landscape theme. The public is invited to see the show, which will be on display all month, and meet the artists during a 5 to 7 p.m. reception at Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St. Refreshments will be served.

Also beginning this day and running all month will be daily poetry activities in the Children’s Room, following the book “A Poem for Every Day!” by Susan Moger; and The Poet Is In, Bachofner’s “office hours” Mondays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the downstairs Teen Scene Room. Magnetic poetry boards and a poetry “tree” will be up all month.

April 3: The popular one-hour Wednesday Fireside Readings resume, hosted by Bachofner with refreshments provided by Friends of the Rockland Public Library. Bachofner  will be joined for this first Reading by former Belfast Poet Laureate Linda Buckmaster; they invite everyone to bring and read their favorite poems.

At 1:30 p.m., Rockland Poet Laureate Bachofner will lead a mini-workshop on How A Poem is Made in the library’s board room. The free hands-on workshop with have hand-outs and a door prize.

April 4: As part of its ongoing series of free Thursday evening events, Rockland Public Library will screen “Louder Than a Bomb” in its Friends Community Room at 6:30 p.m. The 2010 documentary about Chicago-area school students’ participation in a poetry slam will be followed by discussion led by Ben Blackmon.

April 5: Waterfall Arts, 256 High St., Belfast, revives a tradition with the Poets and Fools Costume Ball beginning at 8 p.m. in the arts center’s Fallout Shelter performance space. Sander, who will emcee a mini auction, will be joined by guest poets Brianna Hausman, a Searsport District High School senior and finalist two years’ running in Maine’s Poetry Out Loud contest; former poet laureate Jacob Fricke, familiar to Rockland literary fans as the guy at hello hello books; and more. Costumes are encouraged and will be judged and awarded. Admission to the fundraiser is by donation, suggested at $10 to $25.

April 10: The month’s second Fireside Reading at Rockland Public Library will be at 3 p.m. to accommodate the readers, high school students from local Oceanside.

Poetry Month Rockland’s annual Bilingual Poetry Night, co-sponsored by the Penobscot School, will feature readings in French, German and Japanese, along with English translations. The evening will begin 7:30 p.m. at the downtown Asymmetrick Arts, 405 Main St.

April 11: Rockland Public Library’s Thursday night series will welcome local poets Dave Morrison and Kristin Lindquist of Camden; and Elizabeth Tibbetts of Hope reading from their work beginning 6:30 p.m. in the Friends Community Room. As with all library events, handicapped accommodations can be made with 48-hour notice by calling 594-0310.

April 12: All five living Belfast poet laureates will read poet laureate works from other times and places beginning 6:30 p.m. at Belfast Free Library, 106 High St. Reading will be Sander, Fricke, Buckmaster, Elizabeth Garber and Karin Spitfire. One should not be surprised to hear a work by the city’s inaugural poet laureate, the late Bern Porter.

April 17: The Fireside Readings continue at noon at Rockland Public Library with former Fricke and Bachofner, along with Robert Libby and Gayle Portnow, reading contemporary Maine poetry. There will be time for a Q&A and refreshments.

April 18: Rockland Public Library will screen “Millay at Steepletop,” which features the only know-to-exist film footage of the Rockland-born/Camden-bred poet, beginning 6:30 p.m. in the Friends Community Room. Edna St. Vincent Millay scholar Mary Pilote will lead the post-film discussion.

April 21: Bachofner will host a screening of “World of Light: A Portrait of May Sarton,” a 2009 documentary narrated by the late poet herself, at 1:30 p.m. in the Friends Community Room of Rockland Public Library. Sarton spent her most productive literary years in Maine; a brief talk on her work will follow the screening.

April 22: Earth Day and Poetry Month Rockland come together with a fireside reading in the city library’s Reading Room at 6:30 p.m. Co-sponsored by Georges River Land Trust, the evening will feature the winning works from this year’s place-based poetry call.

April 23: Rockland library’s monthly Book Soup gathering at 6 p.m. will focus on poetry; participants choose their own titles and share what makes the books great.

April 24: The month’s final Fireside Reading will take place at 3 p.m. in the Rockland library’s Reading Room. Native American poems will be read by Abenaki poets Cheryl Savageau and Bachofner, along with Lacy Simons, owner/operator of hello hello books.

April 25: The annual Swarm of Poets will convene at 6:30 p.m. in the Friends Community Room of Rockland Public Library, offering an evening of readings by a dozen or more Maine poets, including the winners of the annual Rockland Poetry Contest.

April 27: The final Poetry Month Rockland stand-alone event will be a talk by Alison Johnson at 2 p.m. Johnson will speak from her 2012 biography “Wallace Stevens: A Dual Life as Poet and Insurance Executive”” about one of America's leading poets. Books will be available for sale and signing.

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