Brunswick’s celebration of the Maine poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is back for its 20th year celebrating all things literary. Beginning Feb. 3, Longfellow Days promises to fill the month with readings and other community events.

Maryli Tiemann, a retired high school English teacher, remembers how the idea for Longfellow Days first came to be.

Longfellow Days, a celebration of the famous Maine poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, will kick off on Feb. 3 in Brunswick for the event’s 20th year. Courtesy of Maryli Tiemann

There was a picture of Longfellow on the fridge in the teacher’s room at Morse High School. When she and a friend were discussing how to pull Brunswick together in a unique way, Tiemann asked, “Well, what about Longfellow?”

“It takes a community,” said Tiemann of the initial push to organize events celebrating the famous writer and Bowdoin College alum best known for penning “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The Song of Hiawatha,” among other works.

“We put something in the paper and then we had a meeting and lots of people showed up and that’s how it began.”

Claudia Knox, former co-chairperson of Longfellow Days, remembers driving antique pianos up from Portland those first years for pianist Martin Perry to play in Brunswick. Sunday poetry readings, she said, “became a real staple.”


Those poetry readings are now held in the Fireplace Room of Curtis Memorial Library and will be offered throughout the month. At this year’s first reading at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, former Maine Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl will read from the work of Maine’s first poet laureate, Kate Barnes.

A book launch celebration for “Read to Me Some Poem: 20 Years of Longfellow Days Poems” will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Middle Street in Brunswick. Courtesy of Maryli Tiemann

Other highlights include a conversation on Longfellow’s poetry with local bookstore owner Gary Lawless on Feb. 13 and a performance by the Bowdoin College a cappella group The Longfellows on Feb. 27.

New this year is a book launch for the anthology “Read to Me Some Poem: 20 Years of Longfellow Days Poems” at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Brunswick.

Longfellow Days has always been held in February, Longfellow’s birthday month. It’s an opportunity to “serve the interest of local people in that deep winter moment,” Knox said.

A complete calendar of events for this year’s Longfellow Days can be found at

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.