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Belfast Poetry Festival announces workshops

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BELFAST – The 17th annual Belfast Poetry Festival returns on Saturday, October 15 to offer an in-person event including workshops and the evening collaborative showcase at 6:30 p.m. at Troy Howard Middle School, 173 Lincolnville Ave.

On Saturday 15 October, from 1-3pm, the Belfast Poetry Festival is offering two concurrent workshops at the Belfast Free Library, 106 High St.

In “A Walk on the Wild Side: Turning Animal Encounters into Poetry & Art,” local poet and artist Leslie Moore will use a Michele Wyrebek quote from “Be Properly Scared” as a starting point. In this generative workshop, participants will write poems and/or make art featuring animals encountered in the wild or in their own backyards. Often, chance encounters with wild creatures leave us stunned and speechless. Remembered in peace, these encounters can ask to be put into words or put into art. Participants must bring writing and/or art materials, as well as a device that allows them to access the Internet. Participants will research and in the process learn something about the chosen animals as well as themselves.

In “Elegy: Poetry of Return, Poetry of Mourning,” Claire Millikin, a coastal Maine-based poet and author of eight books of poetry, will take the poetic form of elegy, or the poem of mourning, asking the question of how poetry and mourning intersect and need each other. As we move beyond a pandemic that has claimed so many lives, participants may find themselves aware of the grieving process and wanting to bring the process of poetry to this grieving work. In this workshop, participants will briefly review the history of the elegy and read and discuss some sample poems, taken from the work of Ross Gay, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Gwendolyn Brooks and Anne Carson. However, the main work of the workshop is to talk about where poetry and mourning meet and how they need each other. From a few prompts, participants will write new drafts of poems and discuss them. Please bring a notebook and pen.

To register or for more information, go to belfastpoetry.com and find the links to the workshops. Workshops are $25 each. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

The 17th Belfast Poetry Festival is made possible with support from the City of Belfast, Belfast Free Library, Waterfall Arts, United Farmers Market, Belfast Senior College and The Maine Review.

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