Monday, March 14, 2011

New State Poet Laureate Announced

Governor Paul LePage has officially announced Maine’s new State Poet Laureate. Wesley McNair accepted the honor Friday evening at the Poetry Out Loud State Finals at the Franco American Heritage Center in Lewiston.

McNair, of Mercer, is a multiple award winner and author of eighteen books. The works include poetry, prose and edited anthologies. His most recent collection of poems is Lovers of the Lost: New & Selected Poems (Godine, 2010).

Earlier this year, the Maine Arts Commission sent out a call for nominations for the Poet Laureate post. A panel met and unanimously voted for Wesley McNair. “He is a much loved Maine poet grounded in small town rural life,” said McNeil. “He has a distinguished career in Maine and nationally, his poems are accessible to a wide demographic and he is one of the great storytellers in contemporary poetry.”

“It is clear that the Maine Arts Commission has selected one of Maine’s finest writers and it is my pleasure to honor Mr. McNair as State Poet Laureate,” Governor LePage said. “There is a sense of Maine that is captured in his writings, from the names of towns and the presentation of our way of life. We should all be grateful that Mr. McNair has been sharing his work with us over the years.

McNair is currently Professor Emeritus and Writer in Residence at the University of Maine at Farmington. McNair has also directed the Creative Writing Program and received the Distinguished Faculty Award and the Libra Professorship.

The State Poet Laureate is appointed for a 5-year term and may be reappointed for a second term.

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