5th Annual Maine Postmark Poetry Contest:
Open to Anyone in Maine this Summer!

The Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, a statewide competition, is happening again this year in conjunction with the 10th Annual Belfast Poetry Festival, to be held October 17 & 18, 2014. Maine residents and everyone with access to a Maine post office or mailbox this summer are invited to enter. Citizens, residents, and visitors to our great state are all welcome: the only rule is that all entries must bear a Maine postmark.

To enter, submit one poem of up to two (2) total pages in length; each entry must be accompanied by a $5 reading fee. Proceeds will be used to support the festival. Entrants may submit more than one poem, but each additional poem is an additional $5.

The Belfast Poetry Festival Committee will screen entries and forward finalists to an outside judge, Gary Lawless, poet of national and historic reputation, publisher at Blackberry Books, and co-owner of Gulf of Maine Books, who will choose first, second, and third place winners. The first place winner will receive a $100 cash prize and publication in Off the Coast, ‘Maine’s International Poetry Journal.’ Winners will be invited to read the winning poem and be honored at the Belfast Poetry Festival in October 2014; winning poems will also be announced and published in the Maine press. The top 10 poems will be featured in Belfast art galleries during October as part of the festival’s Gallery Hunt.

Submissions are welcome from now until August 1, 2014; only submissions received with a Maine postmark dated August 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 or entry fee will be disqualified. All poems must be original and previously unpublished. Poems will not be returned, so please do not send originals or an SASE. Winners will be notified by September 15; other confirmation of receipt should not be expected.

Send entries accompanied by a cover letter with contact information and a check for $5 per poem made out to the City of Belfast – to:
Jacob Fricke, Belfast Poetry Festival
Attn: Maine Postmark Poetry Contest
P.O. Box 911
Belfast, ME 04915

For more information on the 10th Annual Belfast Poetry Festival, the contest, or the Gallery Hunt, or for reference to previous festival performances, browse the festival website, friend The Belfast Poetry Festival on Facebook, or email Jacob Fricke.


MWPA logoThe Belfast Poetry Festival is co-sponsored by the
Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance.

Schedule & Details 2014

All times are tentative – check back soon!

Friday, October 17
What: Poetry & Performance Arts Showcase
Where: American Legion, 143 High St, Belfast
When: TBD
Showcase: Poetry & Performance Arts Collaborations
Welcome Reception - Food and Drink
Adam Gottlieb, Chicago Slam Poet
Late Night Open Mic
Performance Poetry Finale

2014 Performance Night Participants

Scott Chaskey, Megan Chaskey, & Doug DeCandia with Droplet Dance, the Gawler Sisters, & Bennett Konesni
Noah Dudley & Shana Bloomstein
Megan Grumbling & Denis Nye
Caroline Losneck & Jefferson Navicky
Isaiah Mansour
Camden Poetry Orchestra
Portland Poets Live

Saturday, October 18

Morning Workshops

Panel Discussion: Poetry, Collaboration, & Community
with moderator Joel Lipman
Stand Up Poetry with Ellen Sander
Writing Outside Ourselves: Engaging the World with Kathleen Ellis

Afternoon Workshops

The Fable: Story, Center, Circle, Poem with Bea Gates
Poems from Tarot with Arielle Greenberg
Poetry Rites with Martin Steingesser
Youth Speak-Out Workshop with TLove and the Poet Rising collective

Featured Guest Workshop

Imagining a Future Utopia with Chicago Slam Poet
Adam Gottlieb
A Poem to Behold Visual Arts Multimedia Show
Hutchinson Center, Belmont Ave (Rt 3), Belfast
Time: TBD
Welcome Reception – Food and Drink
A Poem to Behold Live Multimedia Show

2014 Visual Arts Night Participants

Kathleen Ellis & Majo Keleshian
Cheryl Daigle & Kristisu Sader
Carolyn Locke, Diane Green Hebert & Victoria Pittman
Maggie McFaul & Maryjean Viano Crowe
Christopher Robley & Doug Von
Kristen Case & Steven Pane
Off the Coast 20th Anniversary Retrospective presented by Valerie Lawson & Michael Brown
Mark Melnicove & the work of Bern Porter


The Belfast Poetry Festival celebrates poetry and artistic possibility.

One of the few community-based, non-academic literary festivals in the country, the Festival is an inclusive and collaboration-driven event that gives poets, artists, and audience broad opportunity to make connections, share ideas, and discover possibilities for the arts beyond the merely expected.

The Festival joins poets and artists in collaborative work that stretches the limits of each medium.

We bring together established, recognized poets and emerging voices, a broad range of genres and techniques, poets from different regions across the state, and a mix of the familiar and the innovative.

Annual Celebration

The Belfast Poetry Festival began in 2004 under the auspices of Festivo, a small steering committee that later disbanded. It has been run by the current Belfast Poet Laureate (appointed by the Belfast City Council) and a Waldo County steering committee of volunteers each October since then, and is one of the few community-based, non-academic literary festivals in the country. All events are free or low cost to the public.

Activities have included poetry readings, workshops, art exhibits, evening performances, poetry contests, and book displays by Maine bookstores, publishers, and authors. A highlight of the festival is a curated show of collaborative projects between poets and visual and/or performing artists in Belfast galleries and other venues. These 9 artist/poet teams are chosen by the Poet Laureate and Steering Committee and consists of professionally recognized Maine artists and poets. The teams’ projects are displayed for the month of October in local galleries and coordinated with Belfast’s First Friday Art Walks. During the Festival weekend, audience members move from gallery to gallery to see the artwork and hear the poetry read live. Projects have included sculpture, musical performance, dance, painting, printmaking and broadsides, book arts, and installations.

2014 Steering Committee:

Ellen Sander
Brenda Harrington
Karin Spitfire
Lauren Murray
Jacob Fricke


All Festival events are free and open to the public, with donations encouraged.

Donations can be made out to the City of Belfast and mailed to:

Jacob Fricke
Belfast Poetry Festival
P.O. Box 911
Belfast ME 04915

For more information, keep checking this site for regular updates, or contact us.

Or follow us on Facebook!

2013 Poets & Artists

Additional festival participant bios coming soon.

Joan Braun is an artist and psychotherapist who lives in Weld, Maine. She has exhibited widely throughout Maine and in Philadelphia, most recently at the University of Maine at Farmington’s Emery Arts Center. She received an award from the Philadelphia branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom for her political art activism. She is a member of the Maine Union of Visual Artists.

Kristen Case teaches courses in American Literature, environmental writing, and the intersection of 20th and 21st century American literature and philosophy. She has published articles on Henry David Thoreau, Robert Frost and Ezra Pound and is the author of American Pragmatism and Poetic Practice: Crosscurrents from Emerson to Susan Howe (Camden House, 2011). Her poems have appeared in Chelsea, The Brooklyn Review, Pleiades, Saint Ann’s Review, The Iowa Review, and others. Her chapbook, Temple, was published in 2014 by Miel Books.

Scott Chaskey is a poet, farmer, and educator who for a quarter century has worked the land for the Peconic Land Trust at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, NY. A pioneer of the community farming movement, he is past president of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York and author of This Common Ground, a memoir. He lives in Sag Harbor, NY.

Noah Dudley of Freedom is a deep ecologist, gardener, and human rights activist. He has spent years working in solidarity with those struggling against imperialism, war and occupation in their own land. His writing and poetry reflect the stories and deeper understanding given him through his work with these communities, as well as from the communities of green and wild things in these beloved woods of Maine. It is about healing, and about retelling our sacred stories to keep our spirits alive through dark times.

Jacob Fricke has performed poetry both up on the stage and out in the streets. He currently appears as the performance poet “vocalist” for Algorithm. He has twice been a featured poet at the Belfast Poetry Festival, in 2008 and 2010. He served as the Poet Laureate of Belfast from 2011 to 2012, and currently runs and emcees Belfast’s Poetry Slams. He is the author of This BOOK of POEMS You Found from The Illuminated Sea Press.

Bennett Konesni is Founder of Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, a 243-acre educational farm on Shelter Island, NY on a piece of land retained by his family since 1652. His roles there include teaching worksongs to the farm crew and directing the annual fall festival Plant & Sing. As a student at Middlebury College, Bennett co-founded the student farm, and majored in Music, Anthropology and Environmental Studies, and upon graduation he was awarded a Thomas J Watson fellowship to spend a year studying worksongs on three continents.

Tom Luther of Algorithm is a pianist and composer, working equally in acoustic and electronic media. His jazz album, Everything Is Blue, was released in 2012, and his group, the Tom Luther Quintet, has performed at the Free Range Festival, Aarhus Gallery, Ginko Blue, and River Tree Arts. He is an active participant in the online communal music group “Disquiet Junto”, and frequently posts his work on both Band Camp and Soundcloud.

Maggie McFaul is a 15 year old artist, poet, writer, DJ and deep thinker who, along with her writing, creates digital anime costumes, often using herself as the model. Disguised with wigs and outfits that she constructs, Maggie masks her true self to recreate alternate identities, trying out roles that shift her physical and emotional nature.

Mark Melnicove teaches creative writing, literature, and permaculture at Falmouth High School, in Falmouth, Maine. His poems have been published recently in Agni, Gargoyle, Otoliths, and VLAK. For many years he was editor/publisher of The Dog Ear Press and Tilbury House, as well executive director of The Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. During the 80’s and 90’s he was Bern Porter’s publisher and performance poetry partner. He now serves as Porter’s literary executor.

Dave Morrison was born outside of Boston. At the age of seventeen he found himself playing guitar in a rock band in the Worst Bar on the Planet (the Laconia Lounge in Lowell MA - look it up) and discovered that he had a strange affection for both rock & roll and bars. At age forty he became a college freshman at the New School University in NYC studying writing with David Hajdu, Matthew Roher and Sharon Mesmer. Now he lives on the coast of Maine with his wife Susan and writes poems.

Steven Pane is professor of music in the Department of Sound, Performance, and Visual Inquiry at the University of Maine Farmington. A pianist with a strong interest in sound and interdisciplinary studies, Pane curates and performs new iterations of musical works in collaboration with individuals from other fields. Recent projects include Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, a new context for Schumann’s Carnaval (with poet Jeffery Thomson and video artist Dawn Nye); and The Ecstasy of Always Bursting Forth, a re-envisioning of Bach’s Goldberg Variations with literary scenes (with author Patricia O’Donnell).

Christopher Robley is the 2013 winner of Boulevard’s Emerging Poets Prize. His work has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, and others. As a singer/songwriter, his orchestral indie-pop and fractured folk music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, Boston Globe, and many more. He now lives in Portland, Maine after a decade in Portland, Oregon – because obviously he likes Portlands.

Kris Sader is a printmaker and environmental site-specific installation artist. As a printmaker she uses non-toxic, healthy and environment friendly, printmaking methods, which she helped research at the University of Maine. She was a recipient of an Artist Fellowship at Women’s Studio Workshop, New York, a “Good Idea Grant” from the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) and an Artist in Residence at the Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor.

Lee Sharkey is the author of seven chapbooks and four full-length volumes of poetry, most recently Calendars of Fire (Tupelo Press, 2013) and A Darker, Sweeter String (Off the Grid Press, 2008). Her poems have appeared recently in Crazyhorse, Drunken Boat, FIELD, Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Seattle Review, and other journals. She is the recipient of the Abraham Sutzkever Centennial Prize (2013), the Maine Arts Commission’s Fellowship in Literary Arts (2010), and Zone 3’s Rainmaker Award in Poetry (1997).

Doug Von is an award-winning painter and installation artist who’s had recent exhibitions at Running with Scissors Gallery and Slainte in Portland, in addition to a number of venues in New Jersey. As a freelance graphic designer he’s also created plenty of freaky band posters and album packages, to say nothing of the drawings and paintings he makes happen as his super-secret alter-ego.

Mike Whitehead of Algorithm is a first call trumpeter, and owner/operator of Kat Trax Recording in Thomaston, Maine. His album Habitat is available through Band Camp, and he is the leader of the Mike Whitehead Group, People of Earth, and a frequent sideman with local pickup groups. Mike teaches at the Bay Chamber Schools.

Denis Nye is a composer living in Portland, Maine. He first studied in Jazz Studies at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music as a Bass performer, then at the University of Iowa, where he discovered his passion for the art of composition. He went on to study at the University of Chicago, Juilliard, in search of his own compositional language. Denis has composed music for theater productions by Acorn Productions and Mad Horse Theatre Company, scored the short film Carrying Place, performed his own compositions at the Port-Fringe and Sacred and Profane Festivals.

2014 Workshops

The 2014 Belfast Poetry Festival is pleased to present various workshops during the morning and afternoon of Saturday, October 18.
All workshops are $25 per person, and preregistration is required, as attendance is limited.

For 2014, all workshops are free to high school and college students, though preregistration is still required.
If you are a student, you may register by emailing us the school you attend and the workshops you’d like to take at Jacob Fricke.

Please send $25 checks, made payable to “City of Belfast,” to:
Jacob Fricke
Belfast Poetry Festival
P.O. Box 911
Belfast, ME 04915

Stand Up Poetry

Ellen Sander | 9-11 am  Belfast Free Library, Abbott Rm

Don’t just recite that poem, re-excite it! There’s a reason you wrote it or found it and love it enough to read it aloud, so make that reading radiate.

Performance poet Ellen Sander, the Poet Laureate of Belfast, will coach the heights and depths and drama, the humor, the pathos and the vibrancy out of your poem and your performance. Bring something you want to read ravishingly. Have stage fright? Lose it here. We’ll map out your poem, work on your confidence and impulses, explore theatrical exercises and elements of performance art to put you on the road to an unforgettable performance.

A maximum of 8 students for this workshop so everyone can get personal attention and work in a close group.

Writing Outside Ourselves: Engaging the World

Kathleen Ellis | 9-11 am | Location: TBA

From Dickinson’s poems referencing the Civil War to Blake’s outrage over the blight of the Industrial Revolution, poets have responded to the events of the world around them. In this workshop, we will explore the poetic imagination of several socially, environmentally, and politically engaged poets, such as Denise Duhamel’s responses to 9/11, Harryette Mullen’s tankas on the interface between urban and natural environments, Linh Dinh and Bernadette Mayer’s poems that satirize official rhetoric, Kimiko Hahn’s poems triggered by science, and Zurita’s writing in the sands of Chile’s Atacama Desert. Generative exercises will kickstart new poems and ways of engaging the world. Open to all levels of writers.

Panel Discussion: Poetry, Collaboration, and Community

Joel Lipman, moderator | 9-11 am | Location: TBA
A panel discussion investigating useful strategies for establishing and building both communities of poets and communities for poetry.

Lucas County, Ohio Poet Laureate (and Bayside resident) Joel Lipman leads a panel discussion of poets, laureates, and community leaders to consider the possibilities, challenges, and rewards when poets work collaboratively with artists, organizations, and communities.

Questions and topics considered are likely to include: how to establish and build strong, supportive poetry communities; partnership building; selecting and developing venues to nourish a “scene”; audience building; creating event series; community instruction and opportunities for community education; seeking out underutilized, overlooked resources and creatively restoring them through poetry; poetry and community restoration, growth, and re-generation.

This is a free event.

Youth Speak-Out Workshop

TLove and the Poet Rising collective | 1-3 pm | Location: TBA

Performance and slam poets TLove and the Poet Rising collective lead a workshop to inspire Waldo county youth – find your voice, take the stage, speak up, and speak out!

Poetry Rites

Martin Steingesser | 1-3 pm | Location: TBA

A poem in the air is not the same poem as it was on the page—the drama and charm of its unfolding is completely, particularly alive and intimate as it passes from one body into another… —Tony Hoagland

Poetry Rites is a workshop for exploring voice in our writing and the pleasures of speaking and hearing poems. If memorization is an act of folding back into oneself what was alone and apart, so that it becomes oneself, the speaking of poems is a rite through which what one body blesses with ressurection passes to and invests another.

The workshop will begin with a short performance by Martin and a video of an award-winning slam poetry team of Lewiston sixth graders he taught writing and coached to victory in competitions with local schools and against a Bronx, New York team. Workshop participants will be invited to present a poem at any stage of development for coaching, either read or spoken by heart.

The Greeks thought Memory the mother of the muses, that all nine daughters of creativity were born of Memory. By memory, it is doubtful they meant only memorization but the deep memory of what it means to be fully aware, fully human. Poetry then, one of the great disciplines of memory, may be thought of as “a form of rescue of the deeper self, that as you …speak it you are actually bringing this enormous energy to the surface again, back into conversation with the world. —David Whyte

Poems from Tarot

Arielle Greenberg | 1-3 pm | Location: TBA
Eight students maximum.

With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck / And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack. “Daddy” —Sylvia Plath

Poets from Yeats to Eliot to Plath have delved into the powerful imagery and archetypes of the tarot deck, and contemporary poets are still using it as a pathway to vibrant language and self-awareness. In this workshop, we’ll look at some examples of recent published work that employ or reference the tarot, then follow writing assignments based on playing with various decks Arielle will provide. This will be a generative workshop—we’ll be writing new poems, not workshopping existing ones—and the focus will be on making sharp, specific, exciting, deep-reaching poems using the tarot as a guide, muse and reflection tool, not as a method of fortune telling or divination. Ultimately, this is a workshop that will challenge you to new levels of self-knowledge and verbal acumen: the tarot is simply a way to get there. Open to writers at any level; just bring an open mind, your intellectual curiosity, personal inquiry and your love of language. (If you have your own favorite tarot deck, feel free to bring it along, too.)

The Fable: Story, Center, Circle, Poem

Bea Gates | 1-3 pm | Location: TBA

We will look at how the form of the fable provides ever-widening meanings in a circle and/or in a tight concentration. Parable, poem and song often use repetition and simple, stark language to carve new forms of questioning. We will create fables through exercises pulled from samples. Open to all, regardless of experience.

Gallery Hunt 2014

Belfast Poetry Festival Commemorative Button 2013Our uunique festival scavenger-hunt styled showcase of award winning poetry!

Acquaint yourself with Belfast’s downtown art galleries, take in some award-winning poetry, peruse at your own pace, and welcome the surprises of the unexpected.

During the month of October, beginning with the First Friday Art Walk, Friday, October 3, and up until the end of the Festival, Saturday, October 18, the ten finalist poems from the 2014 Maine Postmark Poetry Contest will be on full display in Belfast art galleries.

Details about the scavenger-hunt, participating galleries and establishments will be posted on our site and on Facebook soon. Keep checking back!

Stay tuned for more news about the contest winners!


2014 Participating Addresses

A] Downtown Belfast Maine [map]

B] The Hutchinson Center
80 Belmont Avenue (Route #3), Belfast, Maine
207-338-8000 / Toll Free: 1-800-753-9044
website »

The Hutchinson Center is less than 2 miles from downtown Belfast, and there is plenty of free parking. Galleries, restaurants and shops are all within striking distance of the Festival venue.


More locations to be announced soon.
Please continue to check back periodically or follow us
on Facebook for updates.

Location Map

Belfast Poetry Festival Map


2014 Festival Supporters

Support for the Belfast Poetry Festival is greatly appreciated. In appreciation we list supporters and link to their website.

City of Belfast
Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance
Hutchinson Center
Maine Community Foundation
Front Street Shipyard
Bangor Savings Bank
Belfast Free Library
Waterfall Arts

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the 2014 festival please contact Jacob Fricke for more info.


Love poetry, art & music? Want to be a part of the 2014 weekend activities? Why not volunteer? It’s a great way to contribute to a unique occasion and meet people.

Contact us and tell us how you would like to help.

Contact Us

For questions, suggestions, or general info please feel free to contact us.

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