The 16th annual Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival is planned for April 6 at the University of Maine at Augusta. Sharon Olds will be its keynote poet.

The free daylong festival will offer a variety of events in addition to the keynote address, including a workshop, discussions, a community dinner and culminating with an evening program of a poetry readings by Olds and student poet presentations.

The festival traditionally offers a poetry workshop for high school teachers, UMS students and the community. Betsy Sholl, who served as the second poet laureate of Maine, is this year’s workshop leader. Sholl is the author of eight books of poetry, and has won numerous awards, including a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. The festival also will include a panel discussion on poetry and truth, readings by winners of student poetry contests and more.

Olds indelible mark on American poetry began in the 1970s. Considered to be one of America’s greatest living poets, Olds has spent decades writing her truth: about love and sex, childbirth and death, social consciousness and the limits of self-knowledge. Winner of the 2016 Academy of American Poets’ Wallace Stevens Award, she was praised as an “American Mater, and a national treasure.”

Schedule of events

Noon: Lunch and Keynote Address by Betsy Sholl on Poetry and Truth, Fireplace Lounge, Richard Randall Student Center.


1 p.m.: Community Reading on Poetry and Truth, featuring Anna Wrobel, Martin Steingesser, Dennis Camire and Carol Bachofner, Fireplace Lounge, Richard Randall Student Center.

2 p.m.: Congress of Maine poets: Round Table discussion on the role of poetry today, Fireplace Lounge, Richard Randall Student Center.

2 p.m.: Writing workshop with Betsy Sholl (reservation required, email [email protected], Klahr Center Classroom).

4:30 p.m.: Panel Discussion on Poetry and Truth, featuring Ekhlas Ahmed, Joseph Jackson, Mihku Paul-Anderson and Lee Sharkey, facilitated by Dr. Robert Kellerman, Fireplace Lounge, Richard Randall Student Center.

6 p.m.: Community Dinner, Fireplace Lounge, Richard Randall Student Center. Reservation required, email [email protected].

7:30 p.m.: Evening Program in Jewett Hall Auditorium, with UMA Student Musicians The Gavels, Elizabeth Phillips, Olin Moody, Umberto Serio and Kenneth Williams


• Welcome — Dr. Ellen M. Taylor, Professor of English

• Opening Remarks — UMA President, Dr. Becky Wyke

• Student Poets Presentations — Introduced by Dr. Elizabeth Powers

• Sharon Olds, Reading and Q&A — Introduced by Dr. Ellen M. Taylor

• Reception in the Danforth Gallery

• Book Signing: Books will be available for purchase before and after the program.

For more information, email Ellen Taylor at [email protected].

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: