“This past year has been challenging,” said the University of Maine in Augusta, in a news release. “We have been quarantining, masking, ‘pivoting,’ rising up, breaking down, and just trying to keep it together.”
To mark the events of this moment, the annual Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival will break out of its usual format, Friday, April 30, to celebrate the University of Maine at Augusta’s (UMA) 2020-2021 academic theme of “Outbreak,” a topic inclusive of viral outbreaks, outbreaks of social justice, and outbreaks of creativity.
To join this Virtual event: https://maine.zoom.us/j/84500105702
The Plunkett Festival will partner with the UMA Danforth Gallery to provide a virtual multifaceted literary and arts event on April 30, 2021. Additional details on the Danforth Gallery Exhibition are available at www.uma.edu/news/the-outbreak-project-exhibition-april-6-30-2021/
Providing the keynote for the event will be Maine’s former poet laureate (2000 – 2006), Baron Wormser. Wormser is the author of nine collections of poetry, as well as two texts on pedagogy, a memoir, and two collections of essays. He is an avid defender of poetry, peace, and the power of language to make collective change. Wormser will speak on UMA’s academic theme of Outbreak, as well as read some of his work.
The April 30 event will be filled with readings, art exhibits, an art installation, and a performance by artist and UMA part-time lecturer, Patricia Brace.
The event will also recognize those selected to receive awards in the annual Student Poetry Contest, which invites University of Maine System undergraduate students and Maine high school students to submit poems for recognition.
This year two additional contests were added, the Outbreak! Writing Project, which will recognize written pieces including poems, flash fiction, short stories, creative nonfiction, essays, or any combination of blurred genres from the community and the Outbreak Project Exhibition, which invited Maine visual artists from UMA, high schools, and surrounding communities to submit work for a juried exhibition at the Danforth Gallery. Outbreak Project Exhibition awards will be announced during the April 30 programming.
Those receiving awards will read or display their works as part of the program.
A tentative program schedule* for April 30 follows:
2:00 pm Welcome
2:15 pm Student Poetry Contest Readings and Awards
High School Plunkett Poetry Contest Awards
UMS Plunkett Poetry Contest Awards
2:45 pm Gallery Performance by Patricia Brace followed by a Zoom Q&A with the Brace and Liz Rhaney, Heather Lyon and Riley Watts, artists who also have performed during the Outbreak Exhibition.
3:45 pm Musical Interlude
"The Hill We Climb" by Amanda Gorman
Scored by the University of Maine at Augusta's Global Rhythms Ensemble
Directed by Brian Shankar Adler
4:00 pm Outbreak Exhibition Project Awards
4:30 pm Outbreak! Writing Project Readings and Awards
5:00 pm Baron Wormser Keynote: "Outbreak Time, Three Poets from One Decade: Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Bob Dylan” via livestream
5:30 pm Baron Wormser Reading and Q & A via livestream
*Times are estimated and subject to change.
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, 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 Terry’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 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.