Maine Arts Commission Accepting Applications for Poet Laureate

  • April 29, 2021


Maine Arts Commission Accepting Applications for Poet Laureate

Stuart Kestenbaum finishes five-year term

AUGUSTA, ME—The Maine Arts Commission requests applications to select a new state poet laureate for a five-year term.

Maine’s Poet Laureate position is an appointment designed to promote poetry throughout the state while honoring a Maine poet whose work can inspire an understanding and appreciation of the craft of poetry for the people of our state. 

Current Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum completes his five-year term in 2021. Kestenbaum, a resident of Deer Isle, has used his position to share poetry in many different mediums, including his Poemsfrom Here collaboration with Maine Public, which features a new Maine poem each week. Kestenbaum is the author of five collections of poems, most recently How to Start Over (Deerbrook Editions, 2019). He is also the author of the essay collection The View from Here (Brynmorgen Press, 2012).

“We are so grateful to Stu for his wonderful work at Poet Laureate,” said Arts Commission Executive Director, David Greenham. Greenham will facilitate the process for selecting Maine’s next poet laureate. “We see this as a wonderful opportunity to recognize another member of Maine’s thriving community of poets,” he added.

The poet laureate position was established by Maine statute in 1995. The specific duties are minimal to ensure incumbents have maximum freedom to work on their own projects during their tenure. While the position does not include a stipend, all expenses are paid for appearances and programs, which include, an annual lecture and reading of his or her poetry; participation in the Maine Arts Commission’s administration of the national Poetry Out Loud project; as well as appearances and events to broaden appreciation and understanding of, and participation in, poetry in Maine communities. Each poet laureate brings a different emphasis to the position.

To be considered for this appointment, poets must be full-time Maine residents and have a distinguished body of poetic work. Applicants must submit up to five poems, totaling no more than 10 pages, as well as a one-page statement outlining your vision for your public role as poet laureate and a copy of your resume no later than June 1, 2021.

To apply, use this link:

The Maine Poet Laureate review committee will be:

Janet Mills, Governor (and poet)

Samaa Abdurraqib, Maine Humanities Council

Susan Minot, Author and Poet

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Maine Writers and Publishers

James Ritter, Maine State Library


Since the inception of the position, Maine’s Poet Laureates have included:

Kate Barnes (1996-1999)

Baron Wormser (2000-2005)

Betsy Sholl (2006-2011)

Wesley McNair (2011 – 2016)

Stuart Kestenbaum (2016 – 2021)

Learn more about the history of Maine’s Poet Laureate, and sign up for our monthly e-blasts, like us on Facebook, follow us @artsinMaine on Instagram, and visit www.MaineArts.comfor Maine’s new Poet Laureate initiatives as they develop.

If you have questions, please contact David Greenham, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission at








Filter Press Releases

Name or Keyword


Date Range

Contact Information

David Greenham

193 State Street
SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333