Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival | Friday, April 6, 2018

Sharon Olds
Photo: Brett Hall Jones

The Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival will continue its tradition of offering a poetry workshop for high school teachers, UMS students, and the community. This year’s workshop leader is Betsy Sholl, who served as the second poet laureate of Maine. Sholl is the author of eight books of poetry, and has won numerous awards, including a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Our keynote poet is Sharon Olds.  Ms. Olds’ indelible mark on American poetry began in the 1970s, and she continues to impress readers and audiences. Considered to be on of America’s greatest living poets, Olds has spent decades writing her truth: about love and sex, childbirth and death, social consciousness and the limits of self-knowledge. Winner of the 2016 Academy of American Poets’ Wallace Stevens Award, she was praised as an “American Master, and a national treasure.”

The festival will also include a panel discussion on poetry and truth, readings by winners of student poetry contests, and more.

For more developing details, check out our Facebook page, and/or contact Ellen Taylor at ellen.taylor@maine.edu.


Welcome to the 16th Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival
Friday, April 6, University of Maine at Augusta
Fireplace Lounge, Richard Randall Student Center

Betsy Sholl Lunch Keynote Address on Poetry and Truth.  12:00

Community Reading on Poetry and Truth: 1:00 – 2:00
Anna Wrobel, Martin Steingesser, Marita O’Neil, Dennis Camire, and Carol Bachofner.

Congress of Maine poets:  Round Table discussion on the role of poetry today: 2:00 – 4:00
What can we do to promote truth? What actions can we commit to speak truth to power?

Writing Workshop with Betsy Sholl in Klahr Center Classroom. 2:00 – 4:00


Panel Discussion on Poetry and Truth:  4:30 – 5:45
Ekhlas Ahmed, Joseph Jackson, Mihku Paul-Anderson, and Lee Sharkey
Facilitated by Dr. Robert Kellerman

Community Dinner: 6:00 – 7:15

Evening Program in Jewett Hall Auditorium: 7:30 – 9:00

UMA Student Musicians: Elizabeth Phillips, Olin Moody, and Umberto Serio

Welcome:  Dr. Ellen M. Taylor, Professor of English

Opening Remarks:  UMA President, Dr. Becky Wyke

Student Poets Presentations:  Introduced by Dr.  Elizabeth Powers

Sharon Olds:  Introduced by Dr. Ellen M. Taylor

Reading and Q & A:

Book Signing: Books will be available for purchase before and after the program

Reception in the Danforth Gallery:

Thanks to UMA Provost’s Office, Cultural Events Committee, Diversity Committee, College of Arts and Sciences, Honors’ Program, Humanities Program, Augusta Student Programming Fund, and all of you.

Donations welcome at uma.edu/give

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 Sharon Olds. Past years have included Richard Blanco, Naomi Shihab Nye, 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.