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Found: Belfast’s new Poet Laureate

“Poetry as a genre—like the other arts such as music or painting–has the capacity to hold space for things that are disturbing, difficult, strange, challenging and political. Life on this planet is complicated. The best poems reflect, represent and comment on these complications without trying to resolve them.”  –Arielle Greenberg

Arielle Greenberg has a colorful and respected place in the world as an internationally renowned poet, mentor, and educator who also happens to be a resident of Belfast.

Greenberg holds an MFA in poetry and is a college professor who has taught in undergraduate and graduate creative writing programs for almost 20 years and was recently elected as the 10th Poet Laureate of Belfast, Maine.

“I moved here because Waldo County is a place where, while in line at the Co-op or the post office or even the hardware store,” Greenberg noted, “you can get into conversations about art, or the environment, or the state of the union because it is a place already deeply invested in arts and culture as well as civic engagement, which is such an amazing gift.”

Greenberg is a teacher but also a practicing poet with numerous national publications, including three full-length poetry collections published by national presses and two more forthcoming, and many anthology inclusions, including Best American Poetry.

“One focus will be to help folks read poetry, rather than just trying to somehow write it,” Greenberg explained, “there is great truth, and great joy and deep solace in the reading of the work already here and we need it to let poetry come in, not just flow out.”

Greenberg is also eager to do more with local schoolchildren including the potential of a local branch of the state’s Poetry Out Loud program and to offer free poetry-related activities aimed at middle and high school students. She has taught writing workshops at Cornerspring Montessori and Troy Howard Middle School.

Tom Moorey the outgoing Poet Laureate of Belfast will lead the traditional performance celebration inducting the new Poet Laureate at an event on New Year’s Eve, at The Playhouse, at 6 p.m. in downtown Belfast. FMI on that event contact Ellen Sanders at ellen@ellensander.com