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Maine Poet Laureate

Wesley McNair 

Poet Laureate - Wes McNair

Poet Laureate - Wes McNair

Wesley McNair is the recipient of 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 in 2006 a United States Artists Fellowship of $50,000, fifty of which were awarded across the arts to a selection of “America’s finest living artists." Other honors include the Robert Frost Prize; the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry (for Fire); 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 (also awarded to Robert Frost, Donald Hall, Maxine Kumin, Robert Lowell, May Sarton, Arthur Miller, Richard Wilbur, et. al.) for his "distinguished contribution to the world of letters." He has received three honorary degrees for literary distinction.

A two-time recipient of Rockefeller Fellowships for creative work at the Bellagio Center in Italy, Wesley McNair has read his poetry at the Library of Congress and 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 (Saturday and Sunday programs) and 14 times on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac, his work has appeared in the Pushcart Prize Annual, two editions of The Best American Poetry, and over sixty anthologies and textbooks. He has served four times on the nominating committee for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

In April 2011, Wesley McNair gave a speech at the Blaine House during an event celebrating Maine poetry. This speech can be downloaded in a PDF by clicking this link or viewed in the video below.  You can learn about the history of the Poet Laureate and current initiatives underway by navigating the links found at the top left of this page.