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Merriconeag Poetry Festival
April 29 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Twenty high school poets have been selected as honorees at the upcoming 11th Annual Merriconeag Poetry Festival. Maine’s Poet Laureate, Stuart Kestenbaum, selected the finalists from a pool that included submissions from twenty area high schools.
Four high schools placed multiple winners among the finalists: Falmouth High School led the way with seven, followed by Maine Coast Waldorf School with four, Morse High School with three, and Cape Elizabeth High School with two. In all, eight high schools will be represented at the Festival, including: North Yarmouth Academy, Deering, Gorham, and Spruce Mountain.
This year’s finalists, in no particular order, are: from Cape Elizabeth, Makena Deveraux and Raina Sparks; from Morse High School, Sidonia Stanton, Elizabeth Schotten, and Nina Keyes; from Maine Coast Waldorf School, Myah Garrison, Wilson Haims, Miles Lloyd and Charles Van West; from Falmouth High School, Emma Auer, Ella Coffin, Kayla Ford, Blake Knox, Sophie Magadieu, Naomi Radtke Rowe, and Claudia Spelman; from Deering High School, Janessa Roberts; from Spruce Mountain High School, Acacia Fournier; from Gorham High School, Grace Flynn; and from North Yarmouth Academy, Jackie Ellsworth.
During the Festival, winning poets will meet Judge Kestenbaum, hear him speak about the importance of poetry and read some of his own work. They will read their winning poems, receive a booklet comprised of all the finalists’ pieces, and receive as well as a gift certificate provided by a local bookstore: Longfellow in Portland, Gulf of Maine in Brunswick, and Sherman’s in Freeport. The top three prize-winners will also be announced; they will have their poems displayed on a large poster that will be distributed to the nearly fifty public and private high schools whose students were invited to submit work.
Judge Kestenbaum selected the finalists in a “blind” process; submissions had no identifying names or school affiliations attached, only each poem’s title. Appointed in 2016 to be Maine’s Poet Laureate, Kestenbaum is the author of four poetry collections: Only Now (Deerbrook Editions, 2014), Prayers & Run-on Sentences (Deerbrook, 2007), House of Thanksgiving (Deerbrook, 2003), and Pilgrimage (Coyote Love Press, 1990)—as well as a collection of essays: The View From Here (Brynmorgen Press, 2012). He also served as director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts for 27 years.