Longfellow Days 2023: TRAVEL-ABOARD & WITHIN

  • January 18, 2023



We’re back again with full programming after a two-year absence. Join us as we embark on a month-long celebration of Longfellow, poetry, and community. All events are free!

Longfellow Days is Brunswick's month-long celebration of the great American poet, who lived here while he was a student and, later, as a faculty member at Bowdoin College. Throughout February - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's birth month - entertaining cultural events all over town will explore themes that are suggested by the poet's life and work. This year's event is titled “Travel: Abroad and Within.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was inspired by traveling, whether internationally or close to home. His adventures shaped his writing, even when his subject had nothing to do with journeys or locales – thus providing evidence that travel can happen over great distances or within our thoughts. 

Thursday, February 2, 2:00-3:00 PM ~ EXHIBITION EXCURSION

A docent-led tour of two BCMA exhibits illuminating aspects of HWL’s time in Italy. Antiquity & America: The Ancient Mediterranean in the United States featuressculpture and paintings that influenced artists like Longfellow. In Light of Rome: Early Photography in the Capital of the Art World, 1842-1871 reveals the eternal city’s impact on the development of early photography. Co-sponsored by the Pejepscot History Center. 

Bowdoin College Museum of Art


Sunday, February 5, 1:00 PM ~ THE COURSEN READINGS, PART ONE

Many superb writers have graced Brunswick and its vicinity through the years. We feature twelve of them in a four-part Sunday series named for the late poet and Longfellow Days’ friend, Herbert Coursen.  We begin with Maine poets Jen Walker Grace, Claire Hersom, and Marcia Simmons. Refreshments. 

Fireplace Room, Curtis Memorial Library


Tuesday, February 7, 6:30-8:30 PM ~ PARSING A POEM: DEVILISH DANTE 

A literary and social event hosted by Gary Lawless, who guides us in exploring the First Canto of Dante’s Inferno, translated by Longfellow, as well as “Mezzo Cammin,” Longfellow’s sonnet written while grieving the sudden death of his first wife. Refreshments and cash bar. 

OneSixtyFive, The Inn on Park Row 



Wes, the Poet Laureate of Maine from 2011-2016, will read from his recently published volume Late Wonders: New and Selected Poems.

Unitarian Universalist Church, 1 Middle Street


Saturday, February 11, 11:00 AM ~ MORNING AT THE MOVIES

Be transported back to Victorian America by I Heard the Bells, the 2022 film about Longfellow and the inspiring story behind the beloved Christmas carol. Introduced by Tricia Welsch, Bowdoin College Professor of Cinema Studies. 

Eveningstar Cinema, 149 Maine Street


Sunday, February 12, 10:00 AM ~ A LYRICAL SERVICE

Poetry is the focus of this ecumenical service, led by Rev. Kharma Amos and with music from Jud Caswell. Visit the Bible that Longfellow signed and donated to his church in 1878.

Unitarian Universalist Church, 1 Middle Street


Sunday, February 12, 1:00 PM ~ THE COURSEN READINGS, PART TWO

Maine poets Cate Marvin, Jefferson Navicky, and Jonathan Pessant are featured. Refreshments. 

Fireplace Room, Curtis Memorial Library


Wednesday, February 15, 12:00 PM ~ POETRY AND TRAVEL: LONGFELLOW IN EUROPE

As a Professor of Modern Languages, Longfellow toured Europe, expanding his worldview and his art. Gary Lawless, another continental traveler, speaks about HWL, poetry, and the value of travel in strengthening the creative arts. This event is part of the Midcoast Senior College’s Winter Wisdom program. 

Morrell Room, Curtis Memorial Library


Friday, February 17, 1:00 PM ~ LONGFELLOW TRIVIA CHALLENGE

We bet you know more than you think you do and, either way, you are sure to have fun. Trivia master Andrew Hamilton emcees, and there’ll be prizes!

Unitarian Universalist Church, 1 Middle Street


Saturday, February 18, 12:30 & 2:00 PM ~ TOURS OF THE JOSHUA L. CHAMBERLAIN MUSEUM

Longfellow Days and the Pejepscot History Center co-host visits to one of Longfellow’s residences in Brunswick – later home of Maine Governor and Civil War General Joshua Chamberlain. 

226 Maine Street


Sunday, February 19, 1:00 PM ~ THE COURSEN READINGS, PART THREE

Maine poets Dennis Camire, Jim Donnelly, and Anna Wrobel are featured today. Refreshments. 

Fireplace Room, Curtis Memorial Library



Local bard David Sloan will read from his work and host this informal poetry-sharing gathering for the community.  Bring yours or favorites by others. Refreshments.

Georgetown Parlor, Maine Lodge, The Highlands, 30 Governors Way, Topsham



Poet David Sloan shares his own writing and hosts this informal verse-sharing session for the community. Bring yours or favorites by others. Refreshments.

Merrymeeting Room, Thornton Oaks, 25 Thornton Way (off Baribeau Drive)


Sunday, February 26, 1:00 PM ~ THE COURSEN READINGS, PART FOUR

Maine poets Kara Douglas, Valerie Lawson, and John Reinhartare on deck for our final Coursen Reading. Refreshments. 

Fireplace Room, Curtis Memorial Library


Monday, February 27, 6:30 PM ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HENRY!

He’s a mere 216 today – and always deserving of a fuss. Ren Bernier hosts our popular poetry open mic, and we invite you to add your voice! Come share your poem or another’s that you love, and enjoy some delicious cake, courtesy of Union Street Bakery. 

Unitarian Universalist Church, 1 Middle Street


Longfellow Days is an annual program of the Brunswick Downtown Association, with support from Bowdoin College, Nathaniel Davis Fund, Eveningstar Cinema, OneSixtyFive: The Inn on Park Row, Union Street Bakery, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick. 


Information online at brunswickdowntown.org/longfellow-days-2023-travel/or facebook.com/longfellowdays/. 


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Maryli Tiemann

6 Whittier Street
Brunswick  ME  04011