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  • Free Poetry Festival at UMA with inaugural poet Richard Blanco

    Friday, April 8, 2016 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    Saturday, April 9, 2016 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Location: University of Maine at Augusta, 46 University Drive, Augusta, Maine

    The University of Maine at Augusta will hold its 14th annual Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival 5-9 p.m. Friday, April 8, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 9, on the university’s Augusta campus, 46 University Drive. Keynote speaker will be poet Richard Blanco, who read at U.S. President Obama’s second inauguration.

    Blanco is the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history; he is the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exiled parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work.

    Blanco’s many honors include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Paterson Poetry Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, and two Maine Literary Awards. He has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s Fresh Air. He has been a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College and the University of Rhode Island. He has continued to write occasional poems for organizations and events. He currently shares his time between Bethel and Boston.

    Festival activities will include a performance by Brio (formerly members of Improvox), local student poetry award announcements (both high school and college level), a panel discussion about Richard Blanco’s poetry, memoir and integrated themes, readings by local poets and students, as well as a musical performance by UMA Jazz Students.

    The Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival, held in April each year to honor the memory of Terry Plunkett, a former English professor at UMA, encompasses diverse Maine voices young and old, emerging writers and those who are well published. The festival is free and open to the public.

    For more information: uma.edu/news/terry-plunkett-poetry-festival-april-8th-9th-at-uma/