As another year begins up, changes are afoot: former Belfast Poet Laureate Tom Moore has passed the cape to current Belfast Poet Laureate Arielle Greenberg after two years of community building; the Belfast Poetry Festival Committee is reviewing the 2018 event; and themes emerge, urgently, among artists and poets, in Belfast and beyond.

But some things continue as before. The Belfast Poetry Festival, now in its 15th year, seeks teams of poets, performers and artists for its annual juried presentation of original collaborative works featuring poetry combined with visual and/or performance arts. The 2019 festival will be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19, in downtown Belfast.

As a major focus of the festival, Saturday night’s event will feature the celebratory showcase of poetry combined with visual arts; poetry with performance arts; and poetry in combinations never before imagined or known. Last year brought large-scale puppetry, experimental music and dance to the fest, so the questions are: How else can collaboration be explored? How far can the boundaries of genre be pushed?

Work will be presented live in a multimedia hall with a performance stage, sound system and large-scale projection screen for artwork. Each collaborative team will have eight minutes for presentation during the showcase. Collaborations by teams of more than two people are welcome and encouraged.

In addition, the festival also is seeking applications for a limited number of collaborations of poetry and visual art for physical display or installation in Belfast venues during the month of October, without live performance or presentation.

The Belfast Poetry Festival draws a devoted assemblage of poets and artists from across the state and beyond, and all are welcome to join a diverse and rich celebration of poetry's power to move hearts and minds. Viewing past collaborations on the festival’s website,, is suggested.

Submission guidelines

To be considered for this year’s collaborative showcase, include “2019 Submission” in the title of email and send: five poems; five images of the collaborating artist’s work or audio or video material; short bios (75 words or fewer); links to websites; and a brief written concept of the proposed poetry and arts collaboration. Address submissions to and send by March 1. Poems should be embedded in the email message text; and images and/or clips should be sent as attachments.

Submissions will be reviewed by the eight-person Festival Committee. Selected participants will be notified in April. The festival follows a two-year rotation policy and discourages applications involving participants in last year’s festival.

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