BELFAST – The Belfast Poetry Festival marks its tenth year with an extravaganza of new features that celebrate poetry and artistic possibility, Friday and Saturday, October 17 and 18, at the American Legion Hall, the Hutchinson Center, the Belfast Free Library, Waterfall Arts, and throughout downtown Belfast.
Doubling its programming from previous years, the 2014 festival will include a Friday night of poetry & performance arts collaborations; performances and a featured workshop with guest celebrity poet Adam Gottlieb, star Chicago slam poet, youth mentor, and activist from the award-winning documentary Louder Than a Bomb; a late night open mic with performance poetry finale from the Poet Rising collective in Portland; writing, performance, and community-building workshops; free youth workshops; a Gallery Hunt featuring the winners of the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest in downtown Belfast art galleries; a panel discussion; and a Saturday night multimedia showcase of poetry and visual art collaborations; all featuring 24 poets, 10 artists, 14 performers, and 8 workshop leaders from across Maine and beyond.
Friday, October 17 sees the return of a full night’s showcase of collaborations between poets and performing artists, starting at 6:30 PM at the American Legion Hall, 143 High Street in Belfast. Featuring poetry ranging from political and agricultural anthem and pop culture postmodernism to surrealist fable and mythic juxtaposition, and performance ranging from acoustic folk, interpretive dance, and circus arts to live self-sampling, radio drama, and ambient soundscapes, the Friday showcase includes poet Noah Dudley with dancer Shana Bloomstein; poet and musician Dave Morrison; poets Marita O’Neill, Jim Thatcher, and Rachel Contreni Flynn with poet and musician Chris Robley; poet Megan Grumbling with composer Denis Nye; poets Scott Chaskey, Megan Chaskey, and Doug DeCandia with dance act Droplet Dance and musicians The Gawler Sisters and Bennett Konesni; poet Jefferson Navicky with radio producer Caroline Losneck; poet and bassist Isaiah Mansour; and ambient ensemble Algorithm, poet Jacob Fricke with musicians Tom Luther and Michael Whitehead. Friday’s showcase begins with slam poet and rapper Adam Gottlieb and is followed by a lively “Late Night Open Mic” at 9 PM with performance poetry finale at 11 PM featuring TLove, Lady Zen, and Princess from the Poet Rising collective in Portland. Sign language interpreter Anna Perna will provide translation for the hearing impaired.
Saturday morning and afternoon, October 18, feature workshops on topics ranging from writing and performance to community building, youth outreach, and the political imagination. Workshops are available for writers of all skill levels and include featured guest workshop Imagining a Future Utopia with Adam Gottlieb; The Fable: Story, Center, Circle, Poem with Bea Gates; Poems from Tarot with Arielle Greenberg; Writing Outside Ourselves: Engaging the World with Kathleen Ellis; Stand Up Poetry with Ellen Sander; Poetry Revolution with Tina ‘TLove’ Smith; and Poetry Rites with Martin Steingesser. Space is limited and pre-registration is required; send $25 payable to “City of Belfast” to Jacob Fricke, Belfast Poetry Festival, P.O. Box 911, Belfast, ME 04915. All 2014 workshop offerings are free to high school and college students; students may email firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate their choices and the school they attend. A panel discussion led by Joel Lipman, Building the Poetry Community: Inviting Collaboration, is free to all. Festival goers might also follow the Gallery Hunt and visit the 10 finalist poems from the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest on display in downtown Belfast galleries; see www.belfastpoetry.com for locations and details, including where to find the winning poem, “Mill,” by Kristen Lindquist of Camden.
The festival concludes Saturday evening, October 18 at the Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Avenue (Route 3) in Belfast, with a reception (5 PM) and multimedia showcase (6-8 PM) of poetry and visual art collaborations, book-ended by two more performances from Adam Gottlieb. Poetry ranges from mythic cycle and nature-based revelation to grammar-based experimental, bop, and algorithm-generated, and art from maskmaking and Dada to photography and color abstracts. The lineup includes poet Kathleen Ellis with artist MaJo Keleshian; poet Cheryl Daigle with artist Kris Sader; poet Carolyn Locke with artists Diane Green Hebert and Victoria Pittman; poet Christopher Robley with artist Doug Von; poet Kristen Case with composer Steven Pane; poet Mark Melnicove with the work of Belfast artist Bern Porter; poet and artist Joel Lipman; and a retrospective of work celebrating the 20th anniversary of the magazine Off the Coast, ‘Maine’s International Poetry Journal,’ presented by editors Valerie Lawson and Michael Brown.
Co-sponsored by the Belfast Free Library and the office of the Belfast Poet Laureate, the Belfast Poetry Festival’s events (except workshops) are free and open to the public, though donations are welcome. One of the only community-based, non-academic poetry festivals in the country, the festival received a citation from the City of Belfast in August for ten years of state and local contribution. The 10th annual festival is made possible by grants from the Maine Community Foundation, the Maine Arts Commission, the City of Belfast, Front Street Shipyard, and Bangor Savings Bank, and support from the Belfast Free Library, Waterfall Arts, and WERU. For more information, email Jacob Fricke at email@example.com , see www.belfastpoetry.com, or www.facebook.com/BelfastPoetryFestival.