Enjoy The 2024 Camden Festival Of Poetry

Padriag O’Tuama
poet / peace activist

The 2024 Camden Festival Of Poetry Is Coming!

It’s free and open to the public.
Register here.


May 3 – Friday

Colby College Museum Of Art

3-4:30 pm      Workshop – Caponigro / Exploring The Colby College Museum Of Art With Poetry

May 8 – Wednesday

The Farnsworth Museum Of Art

11-12:30 pm    Workshop – Caponigro / Conversing with Unicorns: Ekphrastic Poetry – Register here.

May 11 – Saturday

The Center For Maine Contemporary Art

11-12:30 pm    Workshop – Caponigro / Tripping The Light Ekphrastic Poetry – Register here.

May 17 – Friday


2-4 pm            Craft Talk – Padraig O’Tuama / You, You, You; The Address Of Poetry – Register here.

The First Congregational Church Of Camden
55 Elm Street, Camden, Maine

7-9 pm            Friday Open Mic Night

May 18 – Saturday

Downtown Camden, Maine

10-12 am        Morning Poems On Windows Walk

The First Congregational Church Of Camden
55 Elm Street, Camden, Maine

1-2:30 pm       Readings

………………Audrey Minotulu-Le
………………Sandy Weisman
………………Dave Morrison
………………Carol Bachofner
………………Arisa White
………………Jefferson Navicky

………………With music by Chris Ross and Mehuman Johnson

………………Meet Maine poets selling and signing their books.

3-4 pm            Workshops

………………John Paul Caponigro – The Art Of Poetry About Art
………………Kathleen Ellis – Thirteen Ways of Starting a Poem
………………Judy Kaber – The Poem on the Page: Understanding Line Breaks
………………Kimberly Ann Priest – Into Wildness: The Untamed Nature Poem
………………Maya Stein – Black Out Poetry
………………Arisa White – Activating Your Nouns and Verbs
4 pm               Keynote Padriag O’ Tuama
……………..Find out who will win the youth Poet Of Promise Award.


It’s free and open to the public!
Register here.

The 9 Poets Collective Celebrates The Launch Of The Maine Standard

The Nine Poets Collective has been meeting since June of 2020 when they each signed up for a chapbook intensive offered by Maine Media and led by presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco. The group continues to write and support each other with monthly gatherings on Zoom, and an annual poetry picnic.

With the launch of the new literary journal from DownEast books, The Maine Standard, the Nine Poets are featured with selections of poems that speak to each of their “obsessions” and an introduction by Richard Blanco. In this event with The Poets Corner, we celebrate the launch of the Maine Standard with readings from all nine poets.

This special event highlights both the power of poetry and the value of online communities.

Find future and past events on The Poet’s Corner.

John Macintosh’s New Book – Tell Us, What Have You Seen?

And What Is Art?        

And what is Art whereto we press
Through paint and prose and rhyme
When Nature in her nakedness
Defeats us every time?
 Rudyard Kipling
The most gratifying thing about being a teacher is seeing your students grow. One of the pinnacles of my years of teaching has been witnessing John Macintosh’s effervescent explorations of photography. His creations have become as colorful and rich as he is. John is about to release his first photography book, Tell Us, What Have You Seen? Below, John shares some of the highlights of his artistic journey, things he has learned that are important to him, and how making a book has deepened his experience.
Inquire about the book by emailing macgybe@gmail.com.
“Eight years ago, as a birthday present to me, Petra signed us up for one of their photo workshops on a boat in Greenland. Since then, we have been privileged to witness much of Nature’s majesty in their delightful company. Many of the images in this book were taken during their workshops. They taught me everything I know about digital photography. But a voyage with the two of them is not just about understanding the tools of photography, nor is it just a voyage into the wonders of Nature. For me, those were journeys into the uncharted waters of my own creativity. Why am I so passionate about the unworldly intensity of blue ice, the sensuous flow of sinuous curves, or the warm patination of rust? I found it difficult to converse with my own tight-lipped creativity, but eventually, those conversations acted as a guide to my whimsical wanderings.
When I had my show about five years ago, I was amazed at the attendance, including several people who had flown to Chicago from the East Coast. A lady who I knew from the floor of the CBOT had bullied her partner, who owns a local restaurant, to come along to the show. When I had met him previously, he had displayed little interest in my photography. But when he entered my show, he walked up to one of my metal prints and said, ” I can’t live without this.” Shortly afterward, he redecorated the entire restaurant to accommodate seventeen of my prints, which still hang there today. It gives me great pleasure to know that over a thousand diners get to see my work every month.
What did I learn while making the book? Since I knew bugger all, I learned a lot. I decided that I would need a high class printer for the book, just as Blazing Editions are the printers for my prints. As someone without a name, I realized that the odds of finding a publisher were very remote. A couple of years ago, a well-known publisher in England told me, ” Beautiful images do not sell a book. A story sells a book.”  I thought that I didn’t have enough good images of one theme to tell a story, and so was born the idea of grouping different subject matters together through poetry.
For me, Seth and JP were instrumental in creating a link between photography and poetry, as they constantly urged the use of haiku to stimulate the visual mind. I was very dubious when they suggested writing haikus about images and even more so when they encouraged us to do so before setting out with the camera. I was one of the most reluctant pupils to accept the connection between photography and poetry, between the world of word and image. But, bit by bit, over several trips, they wore down my resistance.

.Cloths Of Heaven

.Had I the Heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet.
But I, being poor, have only my dreams,
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
 William Butler Yeats

I read a huge amount of poetry over the last year and a half, which was extremely rewarding. Finding a poem that conjured up one of my images was always thrilling, but at one stage, I realized that I would not find enough poems (over 100 years old for copyright purposes) for a book with nearly 100 photographs, so I took the plunge of attempting to write my own poetry. That was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I have tried especially hard to avoid the sensory overload that comes when words, lying side by side with the image, simply repeat what has already been communicated by the eye. It was a formidable challenge to balance the verbal and visual stimuli, without simply superimposing one on top of the other, but it was immensely rewarding when the two seemed to complement each other.
Mixing my own poems with those of famous poets felt somewhat presumptuous, but I tried to let the image speak to me in its own voice. And just as my images cover a wide range, from portraits to landscapes to the abstract, the poems vary from short to long, from the lyrical, as in Sea Fever, to the whimsical. Above all, I wanted to avoid repetition and monotony. So as not to pigeonhole an image or a poem, I have left them without titles. I am hoping that the reader will return to the book, drawn either by the image or the poem or by a combination of both, like a hummingbird to a flowering bush.”
John Macintosh

I too have bubbled up,
Floated the measureless float,
And have been washed upon your shore.
I too am but a trail of drift and debris.
 Walt Whitman   

Inquire about the book by emailing macgybe@gmail.com.


Enjoy The 2023 Camden Festival Of Poetry Online

I read at 43:30.

I read at 11:11.


The 2024 Camden Festival Of Poetry Is Coming!

The keynote will be Padriag O’ Tuama.

It’s free and open to the public.

Register here.


2023 Camden Festival Of Poetry Highlights

Read More

Three Simple Lines / Natalie Goldberg & John Paul Caponigro



Tuesday, May 24 – 6:00 to 7:00 pm MT – Online At The Santa Fe Workshops

Creativity Continues at Santa Fe Workshops when author Natalie Goldberg joins John Paul Caponigro for an intriguing conversation about how words make images and images make words. Natalie sets the tone and the stage for the evening by reading from her newest book, Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage Into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku. Then John Paul and Natalie discuss the larger themes of how writing and perception are deeply intertwined and how writing can be both inspiring and useful for visual artists. The program finishes with a lively question and answer session — first between Natalie and John Paul and then open to all participants.

Natalie Goldberg, author of 16 books, including the bestselling Writing Down The Bones, a delightfully companionable exploration of writing as a practice of mindfulness. In Three Simple Lines, she highlights the history of haiku poetry, dating back to the seventeenth century; shows why masters such as Basho and Issa are so revered; discovers Chiyo-ni, an important woman haiku master; and provides insight into writing and reading haiku. A fellow seeker who travels to Japan to explore the birthplace of haiku, Goldberg revels in everything she encounters, including food and family, painting and fashion, frogs, and ponds. She also experiences and allows readers to share in the spontaneous and profound moments of enlightenment and awakening that haiku promises.


below – a comparison between Basho’s most famous haiku in Japanese and English


Recommended Reading On Haiku

Writing & Enjoying Haiku – Jane Reichold
If you only read one book on haiku, start here.
This is the book I occassionally give to my students.

Haiku – The Sacred Art – Margaret D McGee
An accessible western perspective on haiku as a spiritual practice

The Haiku Seasons – William R Higginson
Focuses on the importance of seasons in haiku
Written by one of the west’s great haiku scholars

Haiku: A Poet’s Guide
Paints a broad picture of the diverse practices within haiku
A classic by one of the west’s great scholars

The Haiku Handbook – William R Higginson and Penny Harter
A concise history
A classic by one of the west’s great scholars

A History Of Haiku / Vol 1 – R H Blyth
A History Of Haiku / Vol 2 – R H Blyth
An expansive history
A classic by one of the west’s great scholars

Ikigai And Other Japanese Words To Live By
Details Japanese words/concepts important to their culture’s philosophy/aesthetic
Not a book on haiku but includes haiku
Includes 28 photographs by Michael Kenna

Find Natalie Golberg’s new book Three Simple Lines here.

Enjoy The Ekphrastic Review’s Writing Challenge With My Antarctic Images

Deadline – April 15
Ekphrastic writing is written in response to works of art. The Ekphrastic Review is offering its current writing challenge based on my images. The responses are certain to be surprising and diverse. TER will publish the winning responses online this month.
I chose these twin images because they’re pivotal in dual series of images, one nonfiction and the other fiction – Antarctica Waking & Antarctica Dreaming. It was breathtaking when we saw it. That ice can look like Greco-Roman architecture still astonishes me. Clearly, I see this image / these images in more than one way … and I’m looking forward to reading about how you see them.
Write about one or write about both, as you like.
Plus …

Join Me For A New Poetry Reading – Ecopoetry / Voices For The Future


Sunday, April 10, 2022 – 4-5:30 pm EST

I will be cohosting (with Meg Weston) this event and reading my poetry with fellow Maine poets Kathleen Ellis, Gary Lawless, Iris LeCates, and Meghan Sterling in an intergenerational celebration of our place in nature.

Find out more about these poets here.

Each poet will recommend a book, share a favorite poem by another poet, and read their poetry.

A lively Q&A with the audience is sure to follow so bring your burning questions.

Ecopoetry (a relatively new term) offers contemporary views of our complex interrelationships within nature, often exploring ways places influence culture. Sometimes celebratory and sometimes critical, ecopoetry looks closely at personal sensitivity and social change.

Register free now.

The poets of this gathering recommend the following books for finding further inspiration.
Gary Lawless recommends Henry David Thoreau’s Walking
Kathleen Ellis recommends Carlo Rovelli’s Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
John Paul Caponigro recommends David Hinton’s The Wilds Of Poetry; Adventures In Mind On Landscape
Meghan Sterling John Sibley Williams’ Scale Model of a Country at Dawn
Iris Lecates Bell Hooks’ recommends Appalachian Elegy
Meg Weston recommends Charlotte McConaughy’s Migrations
Please consider supporting your local bookstore by contacting Gary Lawless at his Gulf Of Maine Books in Brunswick. gulfofmainebooks@gmail.com or 207-729-5083