UMSS19 Keynote Speaker: Maine’s Poet Laureate, Stuart Kestenbaum

Nothing Like a Deadline: Some Thoughts on the Creative Process

The UMaine Student Symposium (UMSS) celebrates student research and creative work each year. The 2019 UMSS keynote speaker is Stuart Kestenbaum, Maine’s Poet Laureate.

His speech will be about creativity and how people are at their best when they have a framework and limitations.  Kestenbaum says he will be reading some of his own poems to illustrate this point, talking about craft and creativity, and about ingenuity and the creative process in all fields of endeavor.  The theme of the speech will be “Nothing Like a Deadline: Some Thoughts on the Creative Process” and will take place April 10 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

“I’m excited to be participating in this year’s symposium,” says Kestenbaum. “For me there is nothing more important to our future than our ability to be creative, to move from the known into the unknown and understand ourselves and our world in new and unexpected ways.”

Stuart Kestenbaum Biography

Stuart Kestenbaum is the author of four collections of poems, Pilgrimage (Coyote Love Press), House of Thanksgiving (Deerbrook Editions), Prayers and Run-on Sentences (Deerbrook Editions), and Only Now (Deerbrook Editions) and a collection of essays The View From Here (Brynmorgen Press). He has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines including Tikkun, the Sun, and the Beloit Poetry Journal.

He was appointed poet laureate of Maine in 2016. Former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser has written “Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read, heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life. No hidden agendas here, no theories to espouse, nothing but life, pure life, set down with craft and love.”

He was the director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine for 27 years, where he established innovative programs combining craft and writing and craft and new technologies. He is an honorary fellow of the American Craft Council and a recipient of the Distinguished Educator’s Award from the James Renwick Alliance.