17th Annual Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival | April 5th

The 17th Annual Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival at the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) will feature Martín Espada as its Keynote Poet.  The daylong festival offers a variety of events in addition to the keynote address, including a writing workshop, panel discussion, a community dinner, and culminates with an evening program of poetry readings by Espada and student poets. The festival is free and open to the public and a festival schedule is provided.

Image of Martín Espada, photo copyright by David González
Keynote Poet, Martín Espada. Image courtesy of David González.

The Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival traditionally offers a poetry workshop for high school teachers, UMS students, and the community. This year’s workshop leader is Dawn Potter, who directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching, held each summer at Robert Frost’s home in Franconia, New Hampshire. She is an instructor for 24PearlStreet, the online writing program of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Here in Maine, she teaches regularly for the Telling Room and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and she co-directs the Kauffman Summer Writing Seminar, a free environmental writing program open to all Maine high school students. Seating is limited for the workshop, please email Ellen Taylor to reserve a seat.

The keynote poet, Martín Espada, has published almost twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist, and translator. His latest collection of poems from Norton is called Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016). Other books of poems include The Trouble Ball (2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006), Alabanza (2003), A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen (2000), Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996), City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (1993) and Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands (1990).

His many honors include the 2018 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston’s Latino community, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Special thanks to UMA Provost’s Office, Cultural Events Committee, Diversity Committee, and College of Arts and Sciences for making the Plunkett Festival possible.

About Terry Plunkett and the Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival – 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.

Festival Schedule | Friday, April 5th, Noon-9pm

Image of Abdi Nor Iftin, photo copyright by Michael Lionstar.
Author of Call Me American, Abdi Nor Iftin. Image courtesy of David González.

Lunch | Noon
Fireplace Lounge, Richard Randall Student Center

Telling our Stories, with Abdi Nor Iftin, Author of Call Me American | 12:30pm
Introduction by Dr. Robert Kellerman
Fireplace Lounge, Richard Randall Student Center

Writing Workshop with Dawn Potter (Reservation Required, ellen.taylor@maine.edu) | 2-4pm
Richard Randall Student Center, Room 218

Docent Talk of the Spring Archive Exhibit | 3pm
Klahr Center

Panel Discussion on Poetry and Free Speech: Whose Stories? | 4pm
Featuring Adrien Blevins, Duff Plunkett, Jennifer Moxley, and Kifah Abdulla
Facilitated by Dr. Robert Kellerman
Fireplace Lounge, Richard Randall Student Center

Community Dinner | 5:30pm
Fireplace Lounge, Richard Randall Student Center

Evening Program in Jewett Hall Auditorium | 7-9pm
UMA Student Musicians – TBA
Welcome – Dr. Ellen M. Taylor, Professor of English
Opening Remarks – Dr. Rebecca Wyke, UMA President
Student Poets Presentations
Martín Espada, Reading and Discussion – Introduced by Dr. Ellen M. Taylor
Book Signing and Reception to follow in the Danforth Gallery


Books will be available for purchase before and after the program.