Wesley McNair, A Reading

School vacation started yesterday and my writing time turned into kid time.  It took roughly forty-five minutes for kids to start complaining about being bored and eating the house dry of snacks, like fire ants take over a field of cattle!  By the time I got through dinner, I wanted to collapse onto the couch, but I didn’t.  I rallied and drove to the South Portland Public Library to listen to local writers read their work, and to hear Wesley McNair read his poetry.

I’m sure you know Wesley McNair.  He’s Maine’s Poet Laureate, but he’s also won all these prestigious awards and has been published in all the fancy literary places (Kenyan Review, The Atlantic Monthly, etc.).  I sat in the back of the room listening to this man and suddenly my tired neurons were starting to fire with words and ideas.  McNair simply has something about him that makes you want to live in his pocket, listening to him grumble about syntax and meter, and the obscurity of human nature.

Seeing his books for sale, I frantically pawed through my bag for money.  I had just enough for his new book, Lovers of the Lost.  I waited in line for him to sign it- because I can’t resist a good signature from a writer!  This is where I realized what I true master this man is.  He took his time with this signing, asking questions to other writers, probing them with tidbits of knowledge about the publishing world.   He exuded good writing mojo in a way I’ve never seen another writer do.

When it was my turn, he asked me about myself. He probed me about where I am in this publishing journey and then he wrote this:

It’s pretty obvious that I loved that!

You know, it’s not often that I’m in awe of another person.  But this man, his writer’s voice, and his true teaching presence is pretty amazing.

“Adjustment, for that matter, may be the one lesson hope has to give, serving us best when we begin to find what we didn’t know we wanted in what the future brings.”

Wesley McNair, “The Future” from Talking in the Dark

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About julietruekingsley

Crazed writer living on the coast of Maine! Attempting to blog daily in fifteen minutes or less.
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5 Responses to Wesley McNair, A Reading

  1. Pingback: Julie True Kingsley: Wesley McNair, A Reading « NESCBWI Kidlit Reblogger

  2. Anna J. Boll says:

    If your readers missed Wes McNair in South Portland, they can see him on April 27th at the Brunswick Public Library. He’ll be reading his poems as part of our Poem in Your Pocket celebration. For more info, check out/like our Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/brunswickpoeminpocket

  3. Mary Jane Rowan says:

    Julie, I love this poet! I heard him at UNH a couple of years ago. He quoted Ross MacDonald’s definition of a writer as one “mending broken things.” And Leonard Cohen saying “there is a crack in everything and that is how the light gets in.” Aren’t those great images? Yes, He is wonderful. What a great state we live in where Wesley McNair can be poet laureate. Thanks for reminding me of him.

  4. Funny, I was thinking of you when he was reading. I loved the poetry we taught together, such crazy fun.

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