Award Winning Poet Wesley McNair Launches New Book at University of Maine at Farmington Visiting Writers Series

RP090-041AFARMINGTON, ME (March 22, 2010)–The University of Maine at Farmington’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program is proud to present Wesley McNair, professor Emeritus and Writer in Residence at UMF, as the next poet in its 2009-10 Visiting Writers Series. McNair will launch his new book, “Lovers of the Lost: New & Selected Poems,” at the UMF reading held at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 1, in The Landing in the UMF Olsen Student Center. The reading is free and open-to-the-public and will be followed by a signing by the author.

“Lovers of the Lost” represents over 40 years of McNair’s poetry, described by the Ruminator Review as “one of the most individual and original bodies of work by a poet of his generation.” His poems have also drawn praise from a number of poets. Maxine Kumin has called him “a master craftsman,” Donald Hall, “a true poet,” and Philip Levine, “one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry.” Several of the narratives of his new book are derived from the people and rural life of the Farmington area, where many of his poems have been written.

The recipient of numerous prizes for his poetry, Wesley McNair has held grants from the Guggenheim and Fulbright foundations, two Rockefeller fellowships, and two grants in creative writing from the National Endowment for the Arts. He recently read his poems at the Library of Congress and was selected for a United States Artists Fellowship as one of “America’s finest living artists.”

A guest editor in poetry for the 2010 Pushcart Prize anthology, McNair has served four times on the nominating jury for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His work has appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition and The Writer’s Almanac, with Garrison Keillor and two editions of “The Best American Poetry.” He has written or edited 18 books, including anthologies, essays and poetry.

McNair directed the creative writing program at the University of Maine at Farmington and received the Distinguished Faculty Award and the Libra Professorship. He also served as a visiting creative writing professor at Colby College.

More Information on the UMF Creative Writing Program

As the only Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the state of Maine and one of only three in all of New England, the UMF program invites students to work with faculty, who are practicing writers, in workshop-style classes to discover and develop their writing strengths in the genres of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Small classes, an emphasis on individual conferencing, and the development of a writing portfolio allow students to see themselves as artists and refine their writing under the guidance of accomplished and published faculty mentors. Students can pursue internships to gain real-world writing and publishing experience by working on campus with The Beloit Poetry Journal, a distinguished poetry publication since 1950; or Alice James Books, an award-winning poetry publishing house.

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Media Contact: Jeffrey Thomson, UMF associate professor of creative writing, at 207-778-7454, or jeffrey.thomson@maine.edu.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Wesley McNair photo http://www.umf.maine.edu/campus/docs/RP090-041A.jpg

Photo Credit: Submitted Photo