Maine’s largest poetry fest

Plunkett fest at UMA

Apr 02, 2014

Augusta — The University of Maine at Augusta will host the 12th annual Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival Friday evening, April 11, in Jewett Hall; and all day Saturday, April 12, in the Fireplace Lounge of the Richard Randall Student Center. This year’s program features several well-known poets from around the state, as well as contest winning readings from capital-area high school students and college students from campuses throughout the University of Maine System.

As part of the festival theme — Granting Poetic Licenses —poets Robin Merrill and Dawn Potter conducted poetry workshops at Monmouth and Hall-Dale high schools in February and March. During the festival, there will be a panel discussion about the role of poetry in the schools.

This year’s keynote speaker is Allen Feldman, an award-winning poet and Professor Emeritus of English at Framingham State University in Massachusetts. His poetry collections include “The Happy Genius” and “A Sail to Great Island.” Feldman’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Threepenny Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and many others.

The Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. The opening session Friday will run from 7 to p.m., emceed by Vincent Livoti, Associate Professor of Library Science. Allyson Hughes Handley, President of UMA, will welcome festival attendees and Thomaston poet Chris Fahy will speak on Remembering Terry Plunkett. Readings by student poetry contest winners will be followed by Feldman’s presentation. The evening will conclude with a reception in the Charles Danforth Art Gallery, serenaded by UMA’s Jazz On Tour student band.

Saturday schedule will run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Fireplace Lounge of the Richard Randall Student Center, emceed by Professor of English Ellen M. Taylor of Appleton. Senior College poets Margie McLaughlin and Jim McKendy will read from their work, followed by established Maine poets paired with emerging poets of their choice: Marcia Brown and Nate Amadon; Woody Woodsum and a guest TBA; and Carolyn Locke and Helen Tirone.

After the 11:20 to 11:40 a.m. break, there will be a panel discussion on The Role of Poetry in our Schools. Panelists will be Dawn Potter, Mark Melnicove, Ted Bookey and Christine Arsenault, facilitated by Duff Plunkett. Musician Marcia Gallagher will perform during the lunch break, 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.

More paired readings will follow: Robert Farnsworth and Judith Robbins; Michelle Leavitt and Renee Adlesperher; and Camden’s Dave Morrison and Sarah Winchenback. After a short break, the festival will conclude with an open mic from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

For more information, visit or the festival’s Facebook page.

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

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