Portland, Maine Poet Laureate


Maya Williams is a religious Black multiracial nonbinary suicide survivor who is currently the poet laureate of Portland, Maine (“21-“24). Maya was one of three artists of color selected to represent Maine in The Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America series in 2020, and listed as one of The Advocate’s Champions of Pride in 2022. Maya received their MSW with certificate in Applied Arts and Social Justice from the University of New England as well as their MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in Poetry from Randolph College. Her book Judas & Suicide is available now. You can find more of eir work at mayawilliamspoet.com


When God Gives Us a Lot We Can’t Handle

Something simultaneously apparent and subtle that plays a role in our mental health is religion, whether we still identify with the religion we were raised in or not. Maya Williams’ poetry collections Judas & Suicide and Refused a Second Date addresses the impacts of religious related trauma. This talk involves a reading of poems and conversation about poetry in relation to religion and mental health.