April is National Poetry Month and to celebrate Topsham Public Library holds its annual Poetry Festival. Now in its fourth year, the Festival has welcomed poets such as former Poet Laureate of Maine, Betsy Sholl, Longfellow Days founder, Maryli Tiemann, Pushcart Prize nominees Rachel Contreni Flynn, Steve Gibbon and David Sloan, and Joy of the Pen winners Bruce Spang and Linda Aldrich. Featured poets for each year are listed below:

Topsham Public Library Poetry Festival 2014

Linda Aldrich graduated from the University of New Hampshire, Florida State University (MA Theatre Arts), and Vermont College (MFA/ Poetry). She has published two poetry collections, Foothold and March and Mad Women. Her poem “Woman-without-Arms” won the Emily Dickinson Award 2000 from Universities West Press and she recieved the Margaret F. Tripp Poetry Award for her poem “Moving Forward” in Joy of the Pen 2013. Linda now lives in Portland, Maine, with her husband David and their exceptional dog Simba. Her website is: www.lindaaldrichpoetry.com.

Rachel Contreni Flynn was born in Paris and raised in a small farming town in Indiana. Her books  include, Tongue, which won the Benjamin Saltman Award, Haywire, and Ice, Mouth, Song. She was awarded a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2007. A Pushcart nominee, she received two literature grants from the Illinois Arts Council and is a graduate of Warren Wilson College MFA program. Rachel teaches at Colby College and is an editor of Beloit Poetry Journal in Farmington, Maine. You can visit her at www.rachelcontreniflynn.com.

Steve Gibbon has a MFA in Fiction and Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has featured in Harpur Palate, Pank Magazine and Words and Images, where he won the 2008 Excellence in Expression Award. He also served as the 2011 Words and Images poetry editor. Recently he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short story, “An Animal under the Ground”, published in Armchair/Shotgun. A Mainer, he lives in Topsham.

Regina Schaare M.A. is co-author of two non-fiction works, The Goddess Workbook and the Goddess Wisdom Cards. She has been writing poetry since childhood and received an honorable mention for her poem “Amber Light”  in Joy of the Pen 2013. Her writing is influenced by mythology, women’s spirituality, and the feminine aspect of deity. Regina lives in Harpswell, Maine, with her husband and two cats.

David Sloan is a graduate of the USM’s Stonecoast MFA Poetry Program, and teaches in Maine’s only Waldorf high school. His debut poetry collection, The Irresistible In-Between, was published by Deerbrook   Editions in 2013. His poetry has appeared in The Broome Review, The Café Review, Innisfree, The Naugatuck River Review, Poetry Quarterly and Passenger, among others. He received the 2012 Betsy Sholl and Maine Literary awards, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is currently enjoying life’s latest delight—grandfatherhood! His website is: davidsloanpoetry.wordpress.com.

Pam Burr Smith has published short stories, feature articles, essays and poetry in many journals, including Coyet’s Journal, The Cafe Review, Slow Dancer, Georgia Review, Poetry Motel, Kansas Quarterly, Kennebec, Animus and Air Fish. Her first poetry book, Heaven Jumping Women, is now available. She lives in Brunswick, Maine, where she worked as a psychotherapist.

Bruce Spang is the former Poet Laureate of Portland and English teacher at Scarborough High School, and recently published Boy at the Screen Door. He lives in Falmouth with his partner and son. He is author of To the Promised Land Grocery, The Knot, and Tip End of Time. He has edited of two anthologies, Passion and Pride:  Poets In Support of Equality and I Have Walked though Many Lives: Young Voices—Scarborough and was the recipient of the Verdi L. Tripp Fiction Award in Joy of the Pen 2013 for his short story “Hot“.

Maryli Tiemann has been a teacher for over 30 years, sharing her love of communication and community with others. As founder of Longfellow Days, a celebration of the life of Henry W. Longfellow, she has gathered others around poetry and area poets in Brunswick each February. Maryli lives in Brunswick with her husband, David and their son, Joe and grandson, Eli.

Topsham Public Library Poetry Festival 2013

Maryli Tiemann

Steve Gibbon

Linda Aldrich

Betsy Sholl has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Otherwise Unseeable (University of Wisconsin Press, March, 2014), the winner of the Four Lakes Prize in Poetry and Rough Cradle (Alice James Books, 2009). Her work has won many prizes and has been featured numerous journals and anthologies. She lives in Portland, and teaches at USM and Vermont College of Fine Arts. From 2006-2011, Betsy served the state as the Poet Laureate of Maine. Her website is here: www.betsysholl.com.

Topsham Public Library Poetry Festival 2012

Steve Gibbon

Pam Burr Smith

Betsy Sholl