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.
The Belfast Poetry Festival happens every year the weekend after the weekend of Indigenous Peoples’ Day (formerly known as Columbus Day).
The Belfast Poetry Festival began in 2004 under the auspices of Festivo, a visionary steering committee hoping to seed a great community arts event somewhere in Midcoast Maine. It has been run by the 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 in writing, performance, and community-building; art exhibits and installations; evening performances featuring performance poetry, live projections of visual art, and revue showcases of performing arts; poetry contests and installation scavenger hunts; 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 artist/poet teams are chosen by the Belfast Poet Laureate and steering committee and consist of professionally recognized Maine artists and poets. Projects have included sculpture, musical performance, dance, painting, printmaking & broadsides, circus arts, book arts, parades, movies, and installations.
2016 Steering Committee
Toussaint St. Negritude, Belfast Poet Laureate
Arielle Greenberg Bywater
All Festival events are free and open to the public, with donations encouraged.
Donations can be made out to the Belfast Free Library and mailed to:Jacob Fricke
Belfast Poetry Festival
P.O. Box 911
Belfast ME 04915
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