BELFAST – The 16th Annual Belfast Poetry Festival is pleased to announce that Mike Bove from Portland is the winner of this year’s Maine Postmark Poetry Contest. The contest, now in its 11th year, is a statewide poetry event; over 200 nominations from poets from all parts of Maine were received. Bove will read the winning poem during the festival showcase reading on Saturday, October 16 from 6-8 p.m. on Zoom.
Contest judge Alexandria Peary, New Hampshire Poet Laureate, says of Bove’s winning poem, “Basho’s Death Poem, New York City,” “If ‘Basho’s Death Poem, New York City’ decided to stop being a poem, it would probably become an origami finger game, one of those paper contraptions children use to amuse their playmates. , a poem of death, poems that seemingly remain as pre-writing in a notebook (preferring isolation like someone taking a nap in a hotel) but somehow grow l speaker at the door, and the contemporary urban setting is pure magic! There’s also an interesting range in the animation, from subtle personification to full-throttle personification: the notes “say”, the poem “wants to follow / the speaker” in the street, and dreams wander. The rotations of the game end naturally with the unwritten, a non-poem and non-existence, and this “wandering dream”.
Bove is the author of two collections of poems: “Big Little City” (2018) and “House Museum” (2021). He graduated from the University of New Hampshire and is an Associate Professor of English at Southern Maine Community College. He lives with his family in Portland, Maine, where he was born and raised.
Finalists include runner-up Jeri Theriault, South Portland, ‘Ode to My Father’s Body’; Third place, Matt Bernier, Pittsfield, “The Wolffish”; Honorable mentions: Anne Rankin, Brunswick, ‘Small Primer on Loneliness’ and Bridget McAlonan, Topsham, ‘Forest Creatures’.
The other finalists are: “Sestina for Building”, Katherine Hagopian Berry, Bridgton; “Flames”, David Sloan, Brunswick; “Unity of Thought and Action,” Doug “Woody” Woodsum, Smithfield; “Analog Tracks”, Joel Lipman, Northport; and “PM2.5 Evening”, Laura Bonazzoli, Rockport.
The 10 finalist poems will be exhibited in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Free Library in October, and the winning and runner-up poems will be read at the general festival showcase on Saturday 16 October from 6-8pm on Zoom (Register here). The Saturday evening program will also include a festive showcase of poetry, visual and performing arts collaborations, an extravaganza of artistic possibilities, including works by poet Myronn Hardy and filmmaker Anita Clearfield, poet Julia Bouwsma and artist Asata Radcliffe, poet Kristen Lindquist and artist Anna Strickland, poet Diego Bonilla and artist Rodolfo Mata, poet Jefferson Navicky and artist Rebecca Goodale, and poet Jan Bindas-Tenney and artist Ling-Wen Tsai.
The 16th annual festival is made possible with support from First National Bank, Maine Review, Belfast Free Library, City of Belfast, Waterfall Arts and the Belfast Poet Laureate Office. For more information, email Jacob Fricke at firstname.lastname@example.org or see belfastpoetry.com.
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