Date & Time: October 17 at 6:30 PM
Location: Portland Public Library
Join the MWPA and Portland Public Library to celebrate Maine Poet Laureate (2011-2016) Wesley McNair’s The Unfastening (David R. Godine, 2017). This is McNair’s first new collection since winning the 2015 PEN New England Award for Literary Excellence in Poetry for The Lost Child (David R. Godine, 2014).
Often referred to as “a poet of place,” Wesley McNair captures the ordinary lives of northern New Englanders while writing about family conflict and other autobiographical subjects. His poems often explore American dreams interwoven with family drama and public culture. A New Hampshire native who has lived for many years in Mercer, Maine, McNair has authored nineteen books, nine of which are collections of poetry, including The Faces of Americans of 1853 (1983), The Town of No (1989), and Lovers of the Lost: New and Selected Poems (2010), and The Words I Chose: A Memoir of Family and Poetry (2012).
In a review of The Ghost of You and Me (2006), Philip Levine admired McNair’s “many skewed and irresistible characters who manage to get into odd situations for which there is only one remedy: to persevere. … he strikes me as one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry.”
In this, Wesley McNair’s ninth collection of poetry, readers will find not only the work of a mature poet, but a particular and personal vision of life. Combining sorrow, humor, and joy, the volume asks the difficult question: when faced with conflict and struggle, how do you fasten yourself back down again? Beginning with poems of grief and loss, the book moves to the losses of others: a Japanese war bride whose husband’s death leaves her with two young children far from home; a survivalist who talks to deer after his wife of 40 years has moved out on him; an old and failed painter who ropes himself to his windswept roof to view the beauty of coastal islands. The pursuit of beauty, the blessings of nature, the love of a mate, and connections we make with others in the course of everyday life, these are the reigning consolations in the midst of unfastening.