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Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival

Portrait of poet Naomi Shihab NyeThe 2017 Plunkett Festival featuring Naomi Shihab Nye will be Friday, April 21, 2017.

Priority registration for Naomi Shihab Nye’s 7:30 p.m. reading is open! Reserve your ticket here.

The Plunket Poetry contest is now accepting submissions! Interested Maine high school students and students in the University of Maine System are invited to send up to two poems to

Stay up to date on what is happening by following the Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival Facebook Page.

Questions? Email the festival planners at


About Terry Plunkett

The Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival, held in April each year, was established in 2002 to honor the memory and accomplishments of Terry Plunkett, an English professor at the University of Maine at Augusta for nearly thirty years. An outstanding teacher and mentor to many students, Terry was also co-editor of Kennebec: A Portfolio of Maine Writing, an annual magazine published by the university from 1977-1992 and distributed free throughout the state. Many Maine writers first saw their work in print in Kennebec, thanks to Terry’s encouragement and guidance.

A poet and fiction writer as well as a teacher and editor, Terry helped organize and direct the Maine Poets Festival, a hugely popular celebration of poets and poetry, which ran from 1976-1983 at UMA, the College of the Atlantic, and the Maine College of Art.

To honor his memory…

In Terry’s spirit, the annual Plunkett Poetry Festival encompasses diverse Maine voices: young and old, emerging writers and those who are well published, traditional and experimental forms. To encourage new writers, the Festival also includes poetry contests for high school and university students as well as an open microphone.

A featured poet highlights the festival program; this year the poet is Naomi Shihab Nye. Past years have included Richard Blanco, the U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall and the Maine poet laureates Betsy Sholl and Wes McNair.

Because Terry worked to make poetry accessible to all, the Plunkett Poetry Festival is always free and open to the public.

Related to the Festival is the UMA Terry Plunkett Maine Writers Collection in the Katz Library. Established in October 1999, the Plunkett Collection consists of books and videos by and about Maine authors. The primary focus of the Plunkett Collection is contemporary Maine fiction and poetry.

15th Annual Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival – April 21, 2017

Evening program:  Jewett Auditorium  7:30 – 9:00
Seating music provided by UMA’s “Wilkinson & the Deluxes”
Welcome:  Ellen M. Taylor, Professor of English
Opening Remarks: UMA President James Conneely
Winners of Maine high school and University of Maine System contests, introduced by Jan Bunford

High School Contest

First place: Charlie Van West, Maine Coast Waldorf High School. “A Bipolar Artist Kicking Lithium”
Second place: Avery Bakewell, Maine Coast Waldorf High School. “Starving”

University of Maine System Contest

First place: Zoe Fitzgerald, University of Maine at Augusta. “On the Edge”
Second place: Alondra S. Candelario, University of Maine at Machias. “Our Boulevard”
Third place: Samuel Hemenway, University of Maine at Machias. “Cleft”

Naomi Shihab Nye, introduced by Ellen M Taylor

Reading and Q&A
Book signing

Please join us for a reception in the Danforth Gallery following the evening program

Music by “Wilkinson & the Deluxes”

This program was made possible with funding from the University of Maine at Augusta’s Provost’s office, Cultural Events Committee, Diversity, College of Arts and Sciences, Augusta Student Programming Fund, and Maine Humanities Council.


Richard Blanco, Keynote Poet at Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival, April 9 th , 2016

In Blanco’s opening, he talks about the significant of the word “home” and all its permutations. He reads his poems, “Betting on America,” “Mother Country,” and “Papa’s Bridge.”

In this segment, Blanco further explores “home,” as the idea of a being a safe place, a space where one can feel at home with one’s identity. He reads his poems, “Killing Mark,” “We’re not Going to Malta,” and “Looking for the Gulf Motel.”

In this final segment, Blanco reads the poem written for President Obama’s first inauguration: “One Country.”

University of Maine at Augusta