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Twenty high school poets have been selected as honorees at the upcoming 10th annual Merriconeag Poetry Festival, to be held at Maine Coast Waldorf School in Freeport at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 30. Two well-known Maine poets, Lee Sharkey and Linda Aldrich, collaborated to winnow a submission pool of nearly 120 entries down to the finalists. Maine Coast led the way with seven poets making the grade.
This year’s finalists from Maine Coast Waldorf School are Cassandra Albano, Finn Dierks-Brown, Emma Goldberg-Courtney, Wilson Haims, Isabel Konstantino, Fiona Libby and Ava Teegarden. Judges Lee Sharkey and Linda Aldrich selected the finalists in a “blind” process; submissions had no identifying names or school affiliations attached, only each poem’s title.
During the Festival, the finalists will meet Aldrich, hear her speak about the importance of poetry and read some of her own work. They will read their winning poems, receive a booklet comprised of all the finalists’ pieces, and receive a gift certificate from Longfellow Books in Portland, Gulf of Maine in Brunswick, or Sherman’s in Freeport. The top three prize winners will also be announced; they will have their poems displayed on a large poster that will be distributed to the nearly 50 public and private high schools whose students were invited to submit work.
Sharkey’s “Walking Backwards” is her most recent work from Tupelo Press. Her earlier collections include “Calendars of Fire” and “A Darker, Sweeter String .” She is the recipient of the Maine Arts Commission’s Fellowship in Literary Arts, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance’s Distinguished Achievement Award, and the RHINO Editor’s Prize. She is the senior editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal.
Aldrich has published two collections of poetry, “Foothold” and “March and Mad Women” and was a recent finalist for the Maine Literary Award in Poetry 2016, and was awarded the Emily Dickinson Award for Poetry from Universities West Press. She teaches English at Southern Maine Community College and is managing editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal. She also co-hosts the Local Writers at the Local Buzz Reading Series in Cape Elizabeth with poet Marcia Brown.
Founded in 1984, Maine Coast Waldorf School, while independent, is part of a worldwide Waldorf school movement that encompasses more than 1,000 schools in 61 countries.
Spring Cleanup Weekend will be held May 5-7 at Recompence Campground, a part of nonprofit Wolfe’s Neck Farm.
Each winter, nature spreads leaves and debris throughout the campground, and each spring a group of fun, friendly volunteers come to help clean it up. In return for the help, free camping and some meals will be provided. Bring weather-appropriate clothing and footwear; a rake and garden gloves would also be helpful if you have them.
To sign up, call 865-9307 and leave a message detailing the number of people and whether they have a tent or RV.
Volunteers will check-in Friday afternoon and enjoy a pizza party that night. Saturday and Sunday will both begin at 7:30 a.m., when coffee, muffins and bagels will be served. Saturday, the cleanup will begin at 8:30 a.m., with a break from noon-1 p.m. for a barbecue lunch. The work will wrap up for the day at 4 p.m. Volunteers are asked to work from 8:30 a.m.-noon on Sunday, and are welcome to continue into the afternoon.
There are other ways to help out at the farm this season. Those interested are asked to fill out a volunteer interest form at FreeportCamping.com.
“Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide,” edited by Derek J. Lovitch, co-owner of Freeport Wild Bird Supply, was published this month. “From urban parks to Monhegan Island, migration watchers stationed around the state can observe a portion of one of the planet’s great natural spectacles,” Lovitch says about the resource for finding birds throughout the state. He also directs naturalists to breeding birds that nest in the state, birds that winter in Maine, and even vagrants – birds that have strayed from their usual habitat.
The state’s wealth of undeveloped land and its extensive coastline, countless islands, and varied habitat combine to host an impressive diversity of birds at all times of the year. Birders travel to Maine from near and far to seek hard-to-find species. The illustrated guide features descriptions of over 200 birding sites throughout all 16 Maine counties, and includes aid in spotting the most sought-after birds
Lovitch’s lifelong passion for birding has inspired his careers as a biologist, author, tour guide, and business owner. Lovitch is also the author of “How to Be a Better Birder;” he has served as the Tools of the Trade department editor for Birding magazine, and his writing has appeared in many other birding magazines.
Each Wednesday morning, at 8 a.m. in Freeport, a group of artists meet at Coffee by Design and draw, draw, draw. An amazing array of subjects are available even on the coldest, snowiest, rainiest day. There are captive models, still life subjects, and views out the windows. The group is part of the larger International Urban Sketchers, and groups meet all over the world. The purpose is to encourage drawing from life. Members use all kinds of drawing media including pencil, pen, watercolor, marker and digital.
The Maine Urban Sketchers Chapter began in Biddeford, and there is a group in Portland as well. The Freeport chapter has been the most active, meeting weekly for two years with a consistent group of artists who welcome others. Some come by every week, others drop in as they are able and send in their work while on the road. This is not a class; members should bring their chosen tools and come prepared to share a cup of coffee, meet other artists and draw from life. As the weather continues to improve, be ready to wander around Freeport to catch new scenes.
On Wednesday, April 26, all showings at the Nordica Theater will be free for residents of Freeport. Proof of residency is required and donations will be accepted for a local charity. This year, donations will be given to Freeport High School’s Project Graduation.
There is still time to sign up for the rescheduled 8th annual Bow Street Market Tortoise and Hare 5K, which has been rescheduled from April 1 to April 30. Proceeds will benefit the Freeport Running Boosters, a nonprofit group that supports the Freeport High School Running teams. There are multiple categories for prizes, T-shirts and more. Online registration and more information is available at runinarace.com. For more information, check Freeport Running Events or email race coordinators email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Town Council Districts 3 & 4 workshop will be held Tuesday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. at Freeport Community Center to give residents the opportunity to meet their representatives and discuss issues directly with them. Want to get to know your rep and tell them what is on your mind – come to the meet and greet. The workshop will be followed by the regularly scheduled town council meeting.
Freeport Community Library is welcoming donations for its annual book sale over two weeks, April 24 to May 5. Books, DVDs and CDs in good condition will be gratefully accepted. Books must be clean and bindings must be intact. The library cannot accept donations of encyclopedias, dictionaries, textbooks, computer books, Reader’s Digest Condensed books or VHS tapes. The annual book sale will take place May 6-11, during library hours. Proceeds will benefit library programs and services. For more information, visit freeportlibrary.com or call 865-3307.
Voting for the annual edible book festival will be held this year on Friday, April 28 at the Freeport Community Library beginning at 6 p.m.
Enter this fun, free, play-with-your-food event by creating something edible based upon a book or poem. Entries can be dropped off 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on April 28. People’s Choice voting begins at 6 p.m. with winners for the Funniest, Most Book Like, Most Creative and Best in Show in both Adult and Child categories at 6:45 p.m. During the grand finale, everyone will be invited to partake of all the entries.
To register, send your name, if entering as an adult or child, and how you heard about the event to FCLbooks2eat@yahoo.com.
From left, Finn Dierks-Brown, Isabel Konstantino, Cassandra Albano, Fiona Libby, Emma Goldberg-Courtney and Ava Teegarden are among 20 high school poets who are finalists in the 10th annual Merriconeag Poetry Festival on April 20 at Maine Coast Waldorf School.
Derek Lovitch of Freeport, who acts as a birding guide for clients throughout the state, has just published a second book about finding and identifying native and non-native species.
“Barista,” by Dave Weinstein, a member of Freeport Urban Sketchers. The group meets weekly to create works of art while enjoying the camaraderie of other artists.