Brian Turner Submitted photo

The Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival, an annual celebration of emerging and established poets and poetry, will be held in person and online on Saturday, April 27, at in Jewett Hall on the Augusta Campus of the University of Maine at Augusta.

This year’s keynote speaker is Brian Turner, poet, musician, professor, and US Army veteran who served in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division, and later as an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Best known for his poems about serving in the Iraq war, Turner has authored five collections of poetry including the critically acclaimed “Here, Bullet” and his newest “The Wild Delight of Wild Things.” His poems and essays have been published in National Geographic, the New York Times, and The Guardian, just to name a few. Roxana Robinson of The Washington Post proclaims, “Turner is…a poet, and he cannot help but see the world, even the world of combat, in terms of beauty, fragility and heartbreaking splendor…. [His] eloquent rendering illuminates both the shared space and the painful divide between poet and soldier, mission and memory, war and peace.”

Festival Activities

  • Two free workshops will be offered concurrently from 1-2:30 p.m. in Jewett Hall. Attendees may choose “Phantom Noise: Entering the Sound Archive” with Julia Bouwsma or “Poetry of Transmutation” with Claire Millikin. Each session is limited to 16 participants. Both workshops are free of charge but do require pre-registration.
  • A panel discussion on publishing will be held from 2:45-3:45 p.m. in the Farber Forum, in Jewett Hall, and live streamed. All the panelists are from small, independent, Maine-based presses and publications. Panelists include: Steve Luttrell of Café Review: International Journal of Art and Poetry, Maya Stein of Kerning Journal and Toad Hall Edition, and Agnes Bushell of Littoral Books.
  • Preceding the keynote event, Readings and Open Mic, a festival favorite, will be conducted from 4-4:30 p.m. in Jewett Hall’s Danforth Gallery. Light refreshments will be provided.
  • The Keynote Event will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. across the hall in the Farber Forum and via live stream. There will be music performed by UMA jazz students, a welcome from President Cushman, and John McLaughlin will introduce this year’s student poetry contest winners. Poet Brian Turner will then take the stage and present the keynote address, after which will be a time for questions and answers.
  • The day’s events conclude with a reception with hors d’oeuvres from 6-7 p.m. in Jewett Hall’s Danforth Gallery.

The festival is free and open to all. Reservations are encouraged for the keynote address and required for the workshops to ensure adequate seating is available. Visit for more details about each or to register. All events are held in UMA’s Jewett Hall located at 46 University Dr., Augusta, and will also be available online. For updates, more details, and to register, please visit

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