Local poets share powerful messages in second annual Millay Festival

By Daniel Dunkle | Sep 08, 2018
Video by: Daniel Dunkle
Video by: Daniel Dunkle
Video by: Daniel Dunkle
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle Rockland Poet Laureate Mary Jane Martin

Rockland — Local poetry contest winners opened the second annual Millay Arts & Poetry Festival Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Farnsworth Art Museum with words that evoked images both human and political.

Charles Brown of Rockland, who won first place in the Rockland Public Library Poetry Contest, read his poem "Snow over Baghdad," which compared the terrors of war and cosmic entities such as black holes as seen in articles he was reading before he wrote the poem.

Denise DeVaney of Warren said her poem, "House Jazz," was inspired by news about racial tensions, and prefaced it by saying that what happens to others also happens to us because we are all one family.

The all-day event at the Farnsworth pays tribute to the memory of Pulitzer-prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), who was born in Rockland. In her career she did not shy away from controversial topics.

In introducing the event, Steve Cartwright said it celebrated "our Vincent, a daughter of the Midcoast."

The festival featured more than a dozen established and emerging Maine poets speaking at the Farnsworth Art Museum library.

Poets reading from their work included Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum, former Maine Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl, Rockland Poet Laureate Mary Jane Martin and Belfast Poet Laureate Tom Moore. Also reading were Kristen Lindquist, Julia Bouwsma, David Morrison of Camden, David Paffhausen, former Belfast Poets Laureate Karin Spitfire and Elizabeth Garber, Carol Dana, former Rockland Poet Laureate Joanna Hynd, Steve Luttrell, Linda Buckmaster and Maine Poetry Out Loud winner Allan Monga.

Classical guitar music was provided by composer and musician Malcolm Brooks of Rockport.

In addition, an open house was held at the duplex house where Millay was born on Broadway in Rockland. The interior of the house is in the process of being restored and Millay House Rockland, a nonprofit organization, needs to raise another $160,000 to complete that work.

The Millay Arts & Poetry Festival is produced by Millay House Rockland.

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland Feb. 22, 1892. She grew up in Camden and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry  in 1923.

The community is invited to join in the project of preserving history and promoting poetry in Maine: visit millayhouserockland.org; email info@millayhouserockland.org; or check out the Friends of Millay House Rockland’s Facebook page.

Poetry contest winner Charles Brown of Rockland. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Poetry contest winner Denise DeVaney of Warren. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Malcolm Brooks of Rockport plays classical guitar at the Millay Festival in the Farnsworth Art Museum Sept. 8. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
The Millay House on Broadway in Rockland,, birthplace of famed poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, is being restored. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Dave Morrison of Camden. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Inside the Millay House. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
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