Off the Coast, Maine's International Poetry Journal

Maine Postmark Poetry Contest

The Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, now in its 5th year, is a statewide competition held in conjunction with the Belfast Poetry Festival, now in its 10th year ( Maine residents and everyone with access to a Maine post office or mailbox are invited to enter. Citizens, residents, and visitors are welcome to submit. The only rule is that all entries bear a Maine postmark.

Kristen Lindquist of Camden is the winner of this year's Maine Postmark Poetry Contest.

Lindquist's poetry and other writings have appeared in Down East Magazine, Maine Times, Bangor Metro, Northern Sky News, the Bangor Daily News, and on NPR's The Writer's Almanac, as well as in various literary journals and her haiku blog Book of Days ( Her publications include "Invocation to the Birds and Transportation," which was a finalist for a 2012 Maine Literary Award. Lindquist will receive $100, and "Mill" will be published in the fall issue of Off the Coast.

Over 140 entries by poets from 47 different towns, representing all regions of Maine were received. Runners-up include Arnold Greenberg of Blue Hill, second place; Mary Dowd of Yarmouth, third place; and Kathryn Robyn of Belfast, honorable mention. Other finalist poets included Charles Brown of Owls Head, Darcy Shargo of Palermo, Douglas Woodsum of Smithfield, Russell Buker of Alexander, Judy Kaber of Belfast, and Jay Franzel of Wayne.


I can only mine
the landscape for so much:
oak's gnarled branches
blocking a mountain view,
roar of mill's waterfall
filling my ears,
ducks clustered, unmoving
on sodden grass.
My grandfather
once painted this mill's
peeling smokestack.
My uncle worked
in the mill before
it became condos and shops,
his life governed by
the factory whistle
and the beer at shift's end.
As a child I woke nightly
when the fire station alarm
blared once at 9:45,
curfew of a past generation.
The firemen had visited
our school, given us all
red plastic fire hats.
I had my escape route
all worked out, knew
exactly which stuffed animals
I'd bring with me.
I can't picture it now,
where I slept in that tiny
apartment, with my mother
and great-grandmother.
The river won't let me
think. It keeps telling me,
Don't go back there.
You've escaped.

—Kristen Lindquist

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