Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum
Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum
The 15th annual Belfast Poetry Festival will take place Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19. All programming (except lunch on Saturday) is free and open to the public.

The festival will launch Friday at 7 p.m. with a reading at Left Bank Books, 109 Church Street, by Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum. He will read from his newest collection, “How to Start Over.” Kestenbaum hosts Maine Public Radio’s “Poems from Here” and the podcast “Make/Time.” He is artistic director of Monson Arts, an artists residency program. Reservations are strongly encouraged; call 338-9009 or email

Saturday, 10 to 11:30 a.m., will begin with Harbor/Poetry/Walk: Honoring Harbor History and Ecology. Nine poets and Belfast historian Megan Pinette will lead the stroll along the Harbor Walk from Memorial Bridge (“little bridge”) to the Boathouse.

Poets include Carol Bachofner, Linda Buckmaster, Kathleen Ellis, Elizabeth Garber, Judy Kaber, Kristen Lindquist, Leslie Moore, Tom Moore and Karin Spitfire.

Walkers will make stops along the way for a bit of history and a poem at sites of the former sardine cannery, Puddle Dock, City Landing, Heritage Park, Chicken Hill, Steamship Wharf and a few places in between. Attendees may join at any point along the half-mile walk.

There is parking at Memorial Bridge and up the hill on Pierce Street. At the end of the walk there will be a shuttle back to Memorial Bridge or to festival headquarters at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Miller Street.

In case of rain, the event will be held at Belfast Free Library at 10 a.m.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast, 37 Miller Street, will be the site of afternoon activities including Zine Fair and More — featuring Maine ’zines, comics, bookmaking, paper arts, an interactive installation and more. A ploughman’s lunch with music by Belfast Bay Fiddlers will be available for $5 from noon to 1 p.m. An open mic poetry reading will take place in the Abbott Room at Belfast Free Library from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Any poet may sign up at 1:00 to read one poem; all are invited to listen.

Saturday at 6 p.m., there will be a reception at Troy A. Howard Middle School, 173 Lincolnville Avenue, followed by presentations from 6:30 to 8 p.m. showcasing collaborations of poets with visual artists and performers interspersed with readings by winners of the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest.