2023 Annual Poetry Contest Opens February 14!
Wendy Morrill, 2021 Winning Poet ,"We Are All Millionaires"
Contest Prizes: Gift Certificates
First: $25 at Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers
Second: $15 at Twice Sold Tales Bookstore
Third: $10 at Java Joe's
Biography of Poetry Contest Judge;
Laine is a poet, woodswalker, and deep listener. Laine graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in 2014, where they majored in Creative Writing and served as intern at the Beloit Poetry Journal; since then, Laine coordinated programs with the Maine Humanities Council, volunteered for 5 years on the steering committee of the Belfast Poetry Festival, co-edited and produced several issues of a literary magazine, organized formal and informal readings, and remains deeply committed to the work of writing, workshopping, reading, and celebrating poetry in all its forms throughout Maine and beyond. They believe that poetry lives inside and beneath everything and takes many forms, and strives for a world where everyone feels free, curious, and able to find it.
2021 Judge's Remarks: Laine Kuehn
"The Franklin County community is lucky to have a contest like this, especially now. It is important to have a place to which people can contribute their voices, and while part of the thrill of a contest is to submit knowing that you may not place in it, I feel outrageously fortunate knowing I get to read to every entry.
I believe that poetry is a unifying force (and I believe that everyone can, and should, write poems). These last few months have been incredibly difficult for many, but I believe they also offer moments to slow down, moments of self-discovery, and the time to try to find language to talk about the things that move around inside us and matter to us most. As Mary Oliver wrote in her poem “The Uses of Sorrow,” “Someone I loved once gave me / a box full of darkness. // It took me years to understand / that this, too, was a gift.”
It was especially beautiful to see themes in each category, and among the whole group! It seems like on every level we are all responding deeply to relationships, we are all looking more closely, breathing more deeply, noticing the shifts of light. Through it all, the kids in the first category bring their wisdom and their humor, too.
A subset of those voices are represented in these winning poems. They speak for themselves. While we cannot gather in person to hear them together, I hope two things: that we read them aloud to the people in our lives so that they can come alive off the page and in the mouths of people, as some poems are meant to do, and that each of us write a poem in the coming weeks—even if it’s a small one, just for us."