Maine Poet Laureate Selects Merriconeag Poetry Festival Finalists | Arts & Culture

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Maine Poet Laureate Selects Merriconeag Poetry Festival Finalists

FREEPORT - Wesley McNair, Maine’s new Poet Laureate, has selected twenty finalists from ten area high schools for the Fourth Annual Merriconeag Poetry Festival. The finalists will be honored at an awards ceremony and reception on May 1 at the Merriconeag Waldorf School in Freeport from 3:00 pm to 4:30 p.m.

The event is open to the public, and will feature the student-poets reading their prize-winning work. Mr. McNair, a nationally acclaimed author of eighteen books, will also read his own work and speak briefly on the power of poetry. He will announce the first, second, and third place prizewinners, whose poems will be displayed on a poster to be distributed to all high schools in the region. All finalists will receive gift certificates and a festival booklet containing all the selected poems.

“There were so many impressive poems I had a difficult time choosing the best of them,” said Mr. McNair. “Clearly poetry is thriving in the high schools that participated in this contest.”

The Festival, announced in late January 2011, invited all public and private high school students in Cumberland, Androscoggin, and Sagadahoc counties to submit their work, which could be on any subject and in any poetic form. All entries were “blind” judged and only identified by titles, so the judge had no idea about the identity or school affiliation of the poet. Of the schools whose students were selected as finalists, North Yarmouth Academy, Merriconeag Waldorf High School, Scarborough, Falmouth, and Gorham High School all had multiple winners.

The finalists, in no particular order, include: (North Yarmouth Academy) Ben Claytor, Lillie Reder, Aidan McLaughlin, and Aldis Gamble; (Scarborough High School) Michelle Thomas, Molly Hayward, Erick Pickett and Julia Raffel; (Merriconeag Waldorf High School) Emma Rhodes-Armstrong, Leif Anderson, and Jeremy Colson; (Gorham High School) Clara Stickney and Emma Alden; (Falmouth High School) Alexandra Neudek and Abbey Mitchell; (Cheverus High School) Fallon Parker; (Aucocisco School) Missouri Alice Winslow Williams; (Deering High School) Francesca Morabito; (Thornton Academy) Krysteana Scribner; (Yarmouth High School) Amelia Gallay.

The Festival was made possible, in part, by a generous grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as by donations of gift certificates from several local bookstores, including Longfellow Books in Portland, Sherman’s in Freeport, and Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick.

Founded in 1984, Merriconeag Waldorf School serves some 265 students in early childhood through high school. The school’s main location is in Freeport, while Merriconeag’s high school is a short distance away, in the town of New Gloucester.

For more information, contact David Sloan at or 207-688-8989, ext. 204

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