AUGUSTA — An annual poetry festival at the University of Maine at Augusta will both celebrate Maine writers and feature a performance from a Brooklyn-based duo, Climbing PoeTree.

The 10th annual Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Plunkett was a longtime UMA English professor who began teaching in 1969, started a literature journal called The Kennebec, and helped found a Maine poetry festival. Plunkett died in 1998, shortly after retiring from UMA, and the university started the Plunkett Festival in his honor.

The event is free and open to the public. Associate Professor of English Ellen Taylor said organizers try to make it accessible, not esoteric.

“A lot of the poetry has a performance element to it, as well as a real narrative arc,” Taylor said. “Anyone — any man, woman or child — can understand the work and be entertained by it.”

The festival takes up UMA’s universitywide theme each year. This year’s theme is “revolution,” and Saturday will feature a panel discussion about poetry and revolution, as well as readings from 13 poets relating to revolutionary form, content or performance, Taylor said.

On Friday, Climbing PoeTree will perform its piece “Hurricane Season,” which uses poetry, dance and video to explore issues of water, poverty, immigration and Hurricane Katrina.

Also Friday, the Maine Gay Men’s chorus will perform selections from “White Rose,” an opera about the murder of Charlie Howard in Bangor in 1984.

The events related to poetry and revolution are scheduled for Saturday, as are readings to celebrate the life of Herb Coursen, who taught at Bowdoin College and UMA. Coursen died in December.

There will be music on Saturday afternoon, followed by an open microphone session.

“It’s just a wonderful weekend of poetry and music and people talking with one another, and I always find it very inspiring,” said English professor Jill Rubinson. “It’s a great way to start the spring.”

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]


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