Maine Poet Laureate

Maine’s Poet Laureate position is an appointment designed to promote poetry throughout the state while honoring an eminent Maine poet for his or her achievements.  The position was established by Maine statute in 1995. To be considered for this appointment, poets must be full-time Maine residents and have a distinguished body of poetic work.

Julia Bouwsma 

Poet Laureate - Stuart Kestenbaum

Poet Laureate - Julia Bouwsma

Julia Bouwsma lives off-the-grid in the mountains of western Maine, where she is a poet, farmer, and small-town librarian. She is the author of two poetry collections: Midden (Fordham University Press, 2018) and Work by Bloodlight (Cider Press Review, 2017). She is the Library Director for Webster Library in Kingfield, Maine.

Bouwsma is the recipient of the 2019 and 2018 Maine Literary Awards for Poetry Book, the 2016-17 Poets Out Loud Prize, the 2015 Cider Press Review Book Award. She has received writing residencies from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Monson Arts, and Annex Arts in Castine.

She contributes poems and book reviews to Cutthroat, Poetry Daily, Poetry Northwest, RHINO, River Styx, and other journals. Bouwsma, a former Managing Editor for Alice James Books, currently serves as an instructor at University of Maine at Farmington and on the Community Advisory Board for Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

Learn more about the history of Maine’s Poet Laureate, and enjoy reading some more poems by Julia Bouwsma. 


Where did you go? 

To hallways 

of sweat and bleach 

to white walls and 

locked doors 

to brass bed frames 

and the endless folding of sheets 

to the thin lips of strangers 

at the market 

to back doors 

of summer mansions 

to mudflats 

and shanty camps 

to clusters of islands 

too tiny to name 

to house rebuilt

with the same old boards

but smaler this time

and the windows

all in the wrong place.