Edited by Maine Poet Laureate Wesley McNair, Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry was a weekly newspaper column that featured previously published poems by a Maine poet. More than two dozen newspapers throughout Maine published Take Heart and reached hundreds of thousands of readers each week from May 2011 to December 2015.

McNair selected each poem and wrote a brief introduction about the poet’s background and connection to Maine, or the history, context, and themes of the poem. Working in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, this service was offered free to any interested newspapers or publications.  MAC-Logo

Take Heart was administered by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, and funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Take Heart AnthologyTake Heart Anthologies

The  anthologies Take Heart: Poems from Maine and Take Heart: More Poems from Maine collect the nearly five years of Maine Poet Laureate Wesley McNair’s weekly newspaper column, which he launched in 2011 with the support of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. The poems are chosen from the work of poets all over Maine and represent a wide cultural view of the state.

Both anthologies are available from Down East Books.

Take Heart 2




Take Heart: The Archive

Dec 27 Exit” by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Dec 20 The Silent Seers” by J. Barrie Shepherd
Dec 13 Another Full Moon” by Kate Barnes
Dec 6 “Night Out” by Paul Nelson
Nov 29 “My Mother’s Funeral” by Ira Sadoff
Nov 22 El Café a la Esquina de Agua y Vida, Seville” by Jeffrey Thomson
Nov 15 “Why I Have A Crush On You, UPS Man” by Alice N. Persons
Nov 8 “The Hands” by Bruce Guernsey
Nov 1 “Home” by Dawn Potter
Oct 25 Wild Swans” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Oct 18 Some Clear Night” by Gary Lawless
Oct 11 “Lost Graveyards” by Elizabeth Coatsworth
Oct 4 Freeze Frame” by Marcia F. Brown
Sept 27 “On Getting Up” by Bob Brooks
Sept 20 “Peaches” by Kate Barnes
Sept 13 At the Metropolitan Museum of Art” by Eve Forti
Sept 6 “Homering Among the Pines” by Edward J. Rielly
Aug 30 Hunger for Something Easier” by Rachel Contreni Flynn
Aug 23 “From Cadillac Mountain” by Elizabeth Coatsworth
Aug 16 “The Old Gross Place” by Patricia Ranzoni
Aug 9 “Appointment” by Candice Stover
Aug 2 “Mockingbird” by Mekeel McBride
July 26 “Listening for Loons” by Gary Lawless
July 19 “July Storm” by Elizabeth Coastworth
July 12 “Fishing” by Martin Steingesser
July 5 “Island Transport” by Elizabeth Garber
June 28 Briefly, Enough” by Candice Stover & “Summer” by Jacob Fricke
June 21 “Peonies” by Robert Siegel
June 14 “About Bees is What I Say Aloud When You Ask What I’m Thinking” by Kimberly Cloutier Green
June 7 On Wanting Only One Thing” by Rachel Contreni Flynn
May 31 Fugue” by Thomas Carper
May 24 “Will We Survive?” by Peter Harris
May 17 “The Saint of Returnables” by Elizabeth Tibbetts
May 11 “Miss Shrew” by Gary Rainford
May 3 “Three Poems” by Marnie Reed Crowell
April 26 “Closure” by Weslea Sidon
April 19 “After Twenty Years” by Dawn Potter
April 12 “Eel-Grass” by Edna St. Vincent Millay & “Sixty-Five Degrees” by Nancy A. Henry
April 5 “Sardine Packer” by Tom Sexton
March 29 “The Nots” by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc
March 22 “Splitting Wood In Winter” by Douglas Woodsum
March 15 “Alms” by Betsy Sholl
March 8 “The Pet” by Constance Hunting
March 1 Snow-Flakes” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
February 22 “Dog in Winter” by Dawn Potter
February 15 “Valentine” by Linda Aldrich
February 8 “Valentines” by Marcia F. Brown
February 2 “The Present” by Bruce Guernsey
January 25 “Coyotes” by Leslie Moore
January 18 “Another Full Moon” by Kate Barnes
January 11 “Prayer for Joy” by Stuart Kestenbaum
January 4 “First Fig” & “Second Fig” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

December 28 “The Meeting” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
December 21 “The Silent Seers” by J. Barrie Sheperd
December 14 “Snow” by Elizabeth Tibbetts
December 7 “The Pain Sweepstakes” by Mekeel McBride
November 30 “Geography” by Marcia F. Brown
November 23 “Vespers” by Theodore Enslin
November 16 “Balloon” by Haines Sprunt Tate
November 9 “When I Was a Little Cuban Boy” by Richard Blanco
November 2 “The man in front of you” by Alice Persons
October 26 “The Mill” by Edwin Arlington Robinson
October 19 “Chick Magnets” by Thomas Moore
October 12 “Recuerdo” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
October 5 “Elegy for the Stepfather” by Bruce Willard
September 28 “Crossing the Blueberry Barrens” by Tom Sexton
September 21 “Fog-Talk” by Philip Booth
September 14 “Her Harvest” by Thomas Carper
September 7 “The Dragonfly” by Loise Bogan
August 31 “from Under Mount Blue” by Henry Braun
August 24 “Rock Maples” by Megan Grumbling
August 17 “The Granite Stoop” by Tom Sexton
August 10 “Young Pine” by Carl Little
August 3 “Strauss and Cows of Ireland” by Mekeel McBride
July 27 “Doing Time” by Betsy Sholl
July 20  “After the Splash” by Leslie Moore
July 13  “Some Kind of Hunter” by Megan Grumbling
July 6  “Between Stars” by Martin Steingesser
June 29  “Brothers” by  Robert P. Tristram Coffin
June 22  “In the Pasture” by Kate Barnes
June 15  “The Light” by Stuart Kestenbaum
June 8 “Mother Tongue” by Mihku Paul
June 1 “About Bees is What I Say Aloud When You Ask What I’m Thinking” by Kimberly Cloutier Green
May 25 “Listening for Loons” by Gary Lawless
May 18 “Old Whitman Loves Baseball” by Edward J. Reilly
May 11 “Salt and Pepper” by Shelia Gray Jordan
May 4 “Stunned” by David Sloan
April 27 “The Saint of Returnables” by Elizabeth Tibbetts
April 20 “Laughter” by Stuart Kestenbaum
April 13 “Why I Have A Crush On You, UPS Man” by Alice N. Persons
April 6 “Glacial Erotic” by Carl Little
March 30 “Keepsake” by Haines Sprunt Tate
March 23 “One of the Dummies at Night” by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc
March 16 “The Lady and the Tramp” by Bruce Guernsey
March 9 “Thousand Dollar Thumbs” by Robin Merrill
March 2 “A Prayer, A Welcome” by David Walker
February 23 “Shopping Together” by Robert Siegel
February 16 “After Another Difficult Week” by Linda Aldrich
February 9 “What Now, Praying?” by Kimberly Cloutier Green
February 2 “Inside the Stone” by Kate Barnes
January 26 “Splitting Wood in Winter” by Douglas Woodsum
January 19 “Gold Stars” by Rachel Contreni Flynn
January 12 “Starting the Subaru at Five Below” by Stuart Kestenbaum
January 5 “Burning in the Rain” by Richard Blanco

December 29 “Faith” by Robert Chute
December 22 “A Notable Failure” by Robert Siegel
December 15 “Ode to Popcorm” by Peter Harris
December 8 “Snow-Flakes” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
December 1 “Coydog” by Rachel Contreni Flynn
November 24 “Worry Bone” by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc
November 17 “The House on the Hill” by Edwin Arlington Robinson
November 10 “Shell” by Annie Finch
November 3 “The Solemn Son” by Thomas Carper
October 27 “The Lost Seed” by Edward J. Rielly
October 20 “October Moon” by Claire Hersom
October 13 “The School Bus” by Christian Barter
October 6 “The Man Who Looked Like Elvis” by Elizabeth W. Garber
September 29 “My Father, My Hands” by Richard Blanco
September 22 “No Child of Earthly Kitchens” by Mekeel McBride
September 15 “Sardine Packer” by Tom Sexton
September 8 “September Staying” by Pat Ranzoni
September 1 “The Great Rock in the Woods” by Henry Braun
August 25 “Ants” by Lynn Ascrizzi
August 18 “Summer Episcopalians” by Thomas R. Moore
August 11 “Villanelle for the Pond” by Peter Harris
August 4 “Up with Fishermen and Birds” by Susan Deborah King
July 28 “To a Garden Spider” by Leslie Moore
July 21 “At The Birdfeeder” by Richard Foerster
July 14 “Thicker Than Country” by Richard Blanco
July 7 “Where the Deer Were” by Kate Barnes
June 30 “The Old Gross Place” by Patricia Ranzoni
June 23 “A Piano at Evening” by Thomas Carper
June 16 “Magic Show” by Mariana S. Tupper
June 9 “Understory” by Jim Glenn Thatcher
June 2 “On Getting Up” by Bob Brooks
May 26 “Extra Innings” by Bruce Guernsey
My 19 “Stealing Lilacs” by Alice Persons
May 12 “Fiddleheads” by Richard Foerster
May 5 “My Hairy Legs” by Mariana S. Tupper
Apr 28 “The Dump Pickers” by Bruce Guernsey
Apr 21 “Night Wind in Spring” by Elizabeth Coatsworth
Apr 14 “Spring Thaw” by Ruth F. Guillard
Apr 7 “For Cullen: Four Days Old, Waking” by Preston H. Hood
Mar 31 “Which World” by Gary Lawless
Mar 24 “The Clerks” by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Mar 17 “Last Writes” by Carl Little
Mar 10 “Out Here” by Robin Merrill
Mar 3 “Musician” by Louise Bogan
Feb 24 “Divorce” by Donald Crane
Feb 17 “Airfield” by Robert Siegel
Feb 10 “Love Is Not All” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Feb 03 “The Goldfish” by Mekeel McBride
Jan 27 “The Street” by Lewis Turco
Jan 20 “The Alligator’s Hum” by Kenneth Rosen
Jan 13 “Housekeeping of a Kind” by Patricia Ranzoni
Jan 07 “Sandwiches” by Pam Burr Smith

Dec 30 “Sixty” by Phillip Booth
Dec 23 “The Cross of Snow” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Dec 16 “Eighty-Five” by Elizabeth Tibbetts
Dec 09 “He Sees The Future” by Dave Morrison
Dec 02 “Nude” by Robert Siegel
Nov 25 “The Red and Green Cement Truck” by Richard Aldridge
Nov 18 “Gulls in Wind” by Betsy Sholl
Nov 11 “The Habitation” by Lewis Turco
Nov 04 “Hands Reaching” by Edward J. Reilly
Oct 28 “Humane Society” by Bruce Spang
Oct 21 “Regeneration” by Carolyn Locke
Oct 14 “Frenchboro” by Susan Deborah King
Oct 07 “Lost Graveyards” by Elizabeth Coatsworth
Sep  30 “New England Asters” by Lynn Ascrizzi
Sep 23 “Today, The Traffic Signals All Changed for Me” by Martin Steingesser
Sep 16 “If You Should Die Before I Do” by Pat Ranzoni
Sep 09 “Spooked Moose” by Douglas Woody Woodsum
Sep 02 “The Net” by Peter Harris
Aug 26 “Making the Turn” by Sarah Jane Woolf-Wade
Aug 19 “Night” by Louise Bogan
Aug 12 “Hearing Your Words, and Not a Word Among Them” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Aug 05 “Garden Spider” by Richard Foerster
Jul 29 “Watermelon” by Susan Deborah King
Jul 22 “From the Toy Box” by Nancy Henry
Jul 15 “1940” by Sharon Bray & “Rained Out” by Gerald George
Jul 09 “Regret & Snap” by Bob Brooks
Jul 01 “Unknown Algonquin Females, Circa 1800s” by Carol Willette Bachofner
Jun 24 “Ball Smacks Mouth, Splits Lip” by Bob MacLaughlin
Jun 17 “How to Catch a Poem” by Robert Siegel
Jun 10 “Nobody at Treblinka” Thomas Carper
Jun 06 “Two Poems” by Louise Bogan
May 27 “They All Come Back” by Sarah Jane Woolf-Wade
May 20 “Spaghetti Western Days” by Annie Farnsworth
May 13 “The Man Who Likes Cows” by Sheila Gray Jordan
May 05 “Resurrection” by Michael Macklin
Apr 29 “Spring Cleaning” by Ellen M. Taylor
Apr 22 “Zones of Peeper” by Carl Little
Apr 15 “Death and the Turtle” by May Sarton
Apr 08 “Mud Season” by Alice Persons
Apr 01 “The Power of It” by Ted Bookey
Mar 25 “Porcupine” by Tom Sexton
Mar 18 “Essence” by Stuart Kestenbaum
Mar 11 “A Parrot” by May Sarton
Mar 04 “Salt to the Brains” by David Moreau
Feb 26 “To the Infinitesimal” by Betsy Sholl
Feb 19 “The Glass Harmonica” by Theodore Enslin
Feb 12 “Feasting” by Elizabeth W. Garber
Feb 05 “Old” by Phillip Booth
Jan 29 “Two Poems” by Linda Buckmaster
Jan 22 “Where Inspiration Has Learned a Thing or Two” by Mekeel McBride
Jan 15 “Potatoes” by Jay Davis
Jan 08 “What Positions Do They and We Assume in the Encapsulated Stillness” by John Tagliabue
Jan 01 “The Plymouth on Ice” by Thomas R. Moore

Dec 25 “Winter Friends” by Robert P. Tristram Coffin
Dec 18 “To Jesus on His Birthday” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Dec 11 “Two Poems” by Edward Nobles
Dec 04 “Coming Home” by Elizabeth Tibbetts
Nov 27 “The Hands” by Bruce Guernsey
Nov 20 “The Poet” by Marta Rijn Finch
Nov 13 “United States” by Phillip Booth
Nov 06 “For The Falling Man” by Annie Farnsworth
Oct 30 “Mom Gets In One of My Poems” by Martin Steingesser
Oct 23 “Reuben Bright” by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Oct 16 “The Last Lamp-Lighters” by Kenneth Rosen
Oct 09 “Two Poems” by Tom Sexton
Oct 02 “Moth at My Window” by Richard Aldridge
Sep 25 “The Geese” by May Sarton
Sep 18 “Peaches” by Kate Barnes
Sep 11 “Some Clear Night” by Gary Lawless
Sep 04 “Mr. Fix-It” by Stuart Kestenbaum
Aug 21 “Feed My Birds” by Elizabeth McFarland
Aug 14 “Her Telling” by Thomas R. Moore
Aug 06 “Hummingbird & Hen” by Ellen Taylor
Jul 31 “Transportation” by Kristen Lindquist
Jul 24 “Closing Time” by Dave Morrison
Jul 17 “In Nightgowns” by Sheila Jourdan
Jul 10 “Early Morning Trumpet” by George V. Van Deventer
Jul 03 “A Little Bit of Timely Advice” by Mekeel McBride
Jun 26 “Driving Down East” by Robert M. Chute
Jun 19 “The Crossing” by David Walker
Jun 12 “Inland” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Jun 05 “Roses” by Thomas Carper
May 29 “Night Patrol” by Bruce Guernsey
May 22 “Free Agent” by Marija Sanderling
May 15 “April and then May” by Kate Barnes
May 08 “Nature” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
May 01 “April Prayer” by Stu Kestenbaum