The University of Maine at Augusta) will hold its 14th annual Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival starting Friday, April 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. and continuing Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on UMA’s Augusta campus. This year’s keynote is Maine’s own inaugural poet, Richard Blanco.

Blanco is the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history; and he is the youngest, first Latino, immigrant and gay person to serve in such a role. He was born in Madrid to Cuban-exiled parents and raised in Miami, and the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work.

Blanco’s many honors include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Paterson Poetry Prize, a Lambda Literary Award and two Maine Literary Awards. He has been featured on “CBS Sunday Morning” and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” He has been a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College and the University of Rhode Island. He has continued to write occasional poems for organizations and events; and he currently shares his time between Bethel and Boston.

Other festival activities include a performance by Brio, featuring three members of ImproVox; local student poetry award announcements, both high school and college level; a panel discussion about Blanco’s poetry, memoir and integrated themes; and readings by local poets and students, as well as a musical performance by UMA Jazz Students.

The Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival, held in April each year to honor the memory of Terry Plunkett, a former English professor at UMA, encompasses diverse Maine voices — young and old, emerging writers and those who are well published. The festival is free and open to the public. For the complete schedule, visit the Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival’s Facebook page.

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