The fourth annual Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, a statewide competition, is happening again this year in conjunction with the ninth annual Belfast Poetry Festival, set for Oct. 18 and 19. Maine residents and everyone with access to a Maine post office or mailbox this summer are invited to enter. Citizens, residents and visitors are all welcome; the only rule is that all entries must bear a Maine postmark. The first-place winner will receive a $50 cash prize.

To enter, submit entries of up to two total pages of poetry (separate page for each poem, so either two short poems or one longer one); each entry must be accompanied by a $5 reading fee. Proceeds will be used to support the festival. Entrants may submit more than one entry, but each additional entry is an additional $5. Checks should be made out to the City of Belfast.

The Belfast Poetry Festival Committee will screen entries and forward finalists to an outside judge, a poet of national reputation, who will choose first, second and third place winners. Winners will be invited to read the winning poem and be honored at the Belfast Poetry Festival in October; winning poems also will be announced and published in the Maine press.

Only submissions received with a Maine postmark dated Aug. 1 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 will be disqualified.

All poems must be original and previously unpublished. They will not be returned, so do not send originals or self-addressed stamped envelopes. Winners will be notified by Sept. 15; other confirmation of receipt should not be expected.

Entries should be sent to Jacob Fricke, Belfast Poetry Festival, Attn: Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, P.O. Box 911, Belfast, ME 04915. For more information, contact Jacob Fricke at or visit

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