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UMFK to welcome Maine’s Poet Laureate, Wesley McNair

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The University of Maine at Fort Kent welcomes Maine’s Poet Laureate, Wesley McNair, and The Maine Poetry Express to campus on Tuesday, October 30 at 7 p.m. in Nadeau Hall teleconference room. UMFK is the first stop on The Maine Poetry Express; a statewide initiative celebrating Maine poetry.

McNair’s appearance at UMFK is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Wesley McNair is the author of nineteen books, including poetry, nonfiction, and edited anthologies. His most recent books are The Words I Chose: A Memoir of Family and Poetry (CMU, 2012) and Lovers of the Lost: New & Selected Poems (Godine, 2010).

McNair has received fellowships from the Rockefeller, Fulbright, and Guggenheim Foundations, a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship in literature, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships for Creative Writers, and a 2006 United States Artists Fellowship of $50,000 as one of “America’s finest living artists.”

Other honors McNair has received include the Robert Frost Prize; the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry; the Devins Award for poetry; the Eunice Teitjens Prize from Poetry magazine; the Theodore Roethke prize from Poetry Northwest; the Pushcart Prize, and the Sarah Josepha Hale Medal for his “distinguished contribution to the world of letters.”

McNair has received four honorary degrees for literary distinction. He has served on the nominating committee for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry four times.

A two-time recipient of Rockefeller Fellowships for creative work at the Bellagio Center in Italy, McNair twice has been invited to read his poetry at the Library of Congress and has given readings at a wide range of colleges and universities. A television series aired over affiliates of PBS on Robert Frost for which he wrote the scripts received an Emmy Award. Featured on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and 16 times on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, McNair’s work has appeared in the Pushcart Prize Annual, in two editions of The Best American Poetry, and in more than 60 anthologies and textbooks.

The honorary position of Maine State Poet Laureate was established in 1995. The poet laureate is appointed for a five-year term and may be reappointed for a second term, but may not serve for more than two consecutive terms, but may be reappointed after a break in service.

The poet laureate must reside in Maine and be a poet who has published “distinguished poetry.” The nominee is selected by the governor from a list of candidates recommended by the Maine Arts Commission.