Program

Library Programs

Free, high-quality humanities programs to help libraries serve their communities.

Contact

Nicole Rancourt
Program Officer
(207) 773-5051

Details

Poetry Express

Poetry Express, originally designed by poet Wesley McNair with support from the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, connects libraries and local poets in sharing Maine’s poetry with their community.

  • MHC partners with a library and a local poet who identify important community themes. 
  • The Maine State Library provides curated resources, anthologies, and collections of Maine poetry—from the historical to the contemporary—that touch on the community’s themes. 
  • Community members select Maine poems, learn to perform those poems in a workshop with a local poet, and host a community poetry reading and conversation event at the library, an event for the public to come together and celebrate Maine poetry. 

As an example, in 2018 Lincoln Memorial Library convened a Poetry Express to grapple with the closing of their paper mill and the community’s moment of emergence. Participants chose Maine poems curated by MHC and MSL about the lumber industry, lumberjack ballads, poems about deer, moose, and the natural landscape of the Lincoln area by poets living in around Lincoln over the past 200 years. Participants were amazed to find their lived experiences, history, and culture reflected back at them in the poetry. They grieved, laughed and imagined together. They were reminded of their own capacity. They gave words to feelings they hadn’t been sure how to communicate. As a result, the library has launched new weekly writing and poetry groups.