21st Annual Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival

Featuring Keynote Poet Molly McCully Brown, Award Winning Poet and Essayist

April 28, 2023 at 7:30 P.M.

Bennett D. Katz Library, UMA Augusta Campus

The Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival continues its tradition of celebrating emerging and established poets at its annual event, this year held on April 28th at the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA), at the Bennett D. Katz Library, 46 University Dr., Augusta, Maine. This event is free and open to the public, however, seating is limited. To register and see the program, please visit our web page.

molly mccully brown
Molly McCully Brown

Molly McCully Brown is the author of the essay collection Places I’ve Taken my Body— which was published in the United States in June 2020 by Persea Books, and released in the United Kingdom in March of 2021 by Faber & Faber— and the poetry collection The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017), which won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize and was named a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2017. With Susannah Nevison, she is also the coauthor of the poetry collection In The Field Between Us (Persea Books, 2020).

Ms. Brown was raised in rural Virginia, and is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Stanford University, and the University of Mississippi, where she received her MFA. She teaches at Old Dominion University, where she is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Nonfiction, and a member of the MFA Core Faculty.

Each year, The Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival includes a panel discussion related to UMA’s colloquium theme, which for academic year 2022/2023 is disability visibility.  The panel poets are Betsy Sholl, Alisha Goldblatt, and Jason Whitney.  The poets will read from their own work, as well as discuss how their poems and life experiences intersect with the theme.

Organizers of the Festival are thrilled to return to its tradition of sharing a meal together between the afternoon panel discussion and the evening program. This time allows poets and others to reconnect and rekindle connections and flare creative sparks. The dinner is free to all who register.

The Festival also recognizes those selected to receive awards in the annual Student Poetry Contest, which invites all University of Maine System undergraduate students and Maine high school students to submit poems for recognition. Recognized students will read their work in the evening, following a community dinner for all attendees.

The day will begin with a master class with Ms. Brown. For a full schedule and to register for any part of the program, please visit uma.edu/plunkett. For those who do not wish to attend in person, the event will also be live-streamed on Zoom.

About the Plunkett Poetry Festival

The 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.

His son, Duff Plunkett, also a poet, was a champion of the arts in general and the Plunkett Festival in particular. He sat on the organizing committee for 17 years, where he brought his signature wit, creativity, and ingenuity to the festival program. In Portland, Duff was a mainstay at readings and a supporter of both developing and celebrated poets. He worked as an international economist, traveling extensively around the globe, especially in Africa. Fluent in at least eight different languages, Duff’s cultural breadth was extensive.