The Maine Arts Commission is looking for Maine’s next poet laureate.

Gov. Janet Mills shares a moment with Stuart Kestenbaum, who has just completed his term as Maine poet laureate. Mills, a published poet, will serve on the committee that will select the next poet laureate. Applications are due June 1. Courtesy of Stuart Kestenbaum

The person selected will replace Stuart Kestenbaum, who has completed his five-year term.

“We are so grateful to Stu for his wonderful work as poet laureate,” Maine Arts Commission Executive Director David Greenham said in a news release.

A committee will select Kestenbaum’s replacement. Members of the search committee are Gov. (and poet) Janet Mills; Samaa Abdurraqib of the Maine Humanities Council; Susan Minot, author and poet; Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, a poet and executive director of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance; and James Ritter of the Maine State Library.

The qualifications are straight-forward and the job description is simple: The poet laureate must inspire an understanding of poetry and eagerly promote poetry throughout the state.

The position was established in 1995 and is administered by the Maine Arts Commission. It’s an appointed position and does not include compensation, though expenses are paid for appearances and programs. Those include lectures and readings, as well as participation in the Poetry Out Loud project. To be considered, a poet must be a full-time Maine resident with a distinguished body of poetic work. Applicants must submit up to five poems, with a total of no more than 10 pages, and a one-page statement of vision for the public aspect of the role, along with a resume. The deadline is June 1, and the application is available online.

In addition to Kestenbaum, past Maine poet laureates have been Kate Barnes (1996-1999), Baron Wormser (2000-2005), Betsy Sholl (2006-2011) and Wesley McNair (2011-2016).

For information, email Greenham at or visit for updates.

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