AUGUSTA — The 17th annual Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival at the University of Maine at Augusta will feature Martín Espada as its keynote poet. The day-long festival will offer a variety of events in addition to the keynote address, including a writing workshop, panel discussion, a community dinner, and it culminates with an evening program of poetry readings by Espada and student poets.

The festival is free and open to the public and a schedule is provided.

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. 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, so contact [email protected] to reserve a seat.

The keynote poet, Martín Espada, has published almost 20 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).

Martin Espada (Photo by David Gonzalez)

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.

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 30 years. An outstanding teacher and mentor to many students, Plunkett 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 Plunkett’s encouragement and guidance.

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

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