Maine Poet Laureate Julia Bouwsma

SCARBOROUGH — Maine Poet Laureate Julia Bouwsma will read from a selection of her wok at the Scarborough Public Library on Sunday, June 5 at 2 p.m. She will read from her published collections, “Midden” and “Work by Bloodlight.”

The poetry reading, rescheduled from late April, will be the inaugural event in the library’s new Ann P. Hammond Poetry Series. Ann Hammond was an avid and generous donor, supporter, and champion of the Scarborough Public Library. Several popular Armchair Traveler presentations at the library over the years paired Hammond’s stunning poetry with striking travel photography by her dear friend, Dr. Kris Hoyt. Hammond believed it’s never too late to find one’s passion. Through the support of her mentor, author and poet Molly Peacock, Hammond found her calling for writing poetry in the years following her retirement as an educator. Early published works drew from her vivid memories of childhood during World War II, but recent works, including “On Higgins Beach,” have been inspired by the beauty of Maine where Hammond made her home until her death in the fall of 2021.

The poetry reading is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged. Visit the library’s website for further details and to register at scarboroughlibrary.org/events.

When asked about her upcoming reading at the library, Bouwsma said, “Poetry is always giving me new ways to listen — to the stories, experiences, and knowledge of my friends, neighbors, community members, fellow Mainers, and those who have come before me. I believe, fervently, that poetry has the capacity to decompartmentalize our thinking and to weave us to a fabric larger than ourselves.”

Bouwsma lives off-the-grid in the mountains of western Maine, where she is a poet, homesteader, editor, teacher, small-town librarian, and Maine’s sixth Poet Laureate. Bouwsma is the author of two poetry collections, “Midden” (Fordham University Press, 2018) and “Work by Bloodlight” (Cider Press Review, 2017), both of which received the Maine Literary Award for Poetry Book (in 2019 and 2018 respectively). Other honors include the Poet’s Out Loud Prize (2016-17), the Cider Press Review Book Award (2015), and residency fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Monson Arts (Monson, Maine), and Annex Arts (Castine, Main). Bouwsma’s poems and book reviews can be found in Cutthroat, Green Mountains Review, Poetry Daily, Poetry Northwest, RHINO, River Styx, and other journals. She currently serves as the library director for Webster Library in Kingfield, and teaches in the Creative Writing department at the University of Maine at Farmington.