Baron Wormser to provide keynote and reading, join virtual event at https://maine.zoom.us/j/84500105702

The annual Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival will break out of its usual format to celebrate the University of Maine at Augusta’s 2020-21 academic theme of “Outbreak,” a topic inclusive of viral outbreaks, outbreaks of social justice, and outbreaks of creativity.

The Plunkett Festival will partner with the UMA Danforth Gallery to provide a virtual multifaceted literary and arts event on April 30. Additional details on the Danforth Gallery Exhibition, which has been extended to May 6, are available at https://www.uma.edu/news/the-outbreak-project-exhibition-april-6-30-2021/

Providing the keynote for the event will be Maine’s former poet laureate (200006), Baron Wormser. Wormser is the author of nine collections of poetry, as well as two texts on pedagogy, a memoir and two collections of essays.  He is an avid defender of poetry, peace, and the power of language to make collective change. Wormser will speak on UMA’s academic theme of Outbreak, as well as read some of his work.

The April 30 event will be filled with readings, art exhibits, an art installation, and a performance by artist and UMA part-time lecturer, Patricia Brace.

A tentative program schedule* for April 30 follows: 

Welcome                                                                                                            2:00 pm          

Student Poetry Contest Readings and Awards                                                   2:15 pm          

         High School Plunkett Poetry Contest Awards

         UMS Plunkett Poetry Contest Awards

Danforth Gallery Performance by Patricia Brace                                               2:45 pm

Musical Interlude                                                                                                3:45 pm          

         “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

         Scored by the University of Maine at Augusta’s Global Rhythms Ensemble

         Directed by Brian Shankar Adler

Outbreak Exhibition Project Awards                                                                  4:00 pm          

Outbreak! Writing Project Readings and Awards                                              4:30 pm          

Keynote by Baron Wormser                                                                                   5:00 pm

“Outbreak Time, Three Poets from One Decade:

Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Bob Dylan” via livestream

Baron Wormser Reading and Q & A via livestream                                         5:30 pm          

*Times are estimated and subject to change. 

The Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival, held in April each year, was established in 2002 to honor the memory and accomplishments of Terry Plunkett, an English professor at the University of Maine at Augusta for nearly thirty years. An outstanding teacher and mentor to many students, Terry was also co-editor of Kennebec: A Portfolio of Maine Writing, an annual magazine published by the university from 1977-92 and distributed free throughout the state. Many Maine writers first saw their work in print in Kennebec, thanks to Terry’s encouragement and guidance.

A poet and fiction writer as well as a teacher and editor, Terry helped organize and direct the Maine Poets Festival, a hugely popular celebration of poets and poetry, which ran from 1976-83 at UMA, the College of the Atlantic and the Maine College of Art.

His son, Duff Plunkett, also a poet, was a champion of the arts in general and the Plunkett Festival in particular. He sat on the organizing committee for 17 years, where he brought his signature wit, creativity, and ingenuity to the festival program. In Portland, Duff was a mainstay at readings and a supporter of both developing and celebrated poets. He worked as an international economist, traveling extensively around the globe, especially in Africa. Fluent in at least eight different languages, Duff’s cultural breadth was extensive.

To honor the memory of both Terry and Duff, the festival has been renamed the Plunkett Poetry Festival.