Wesley McNair

USA Ford Fellow, 2006

Praised by Maxine Kumin as "a master craftsman," Donald Hall as "a true poet," and Philip Levine as "one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry," Wesley McNair's poems include a wide range of narratives, lyrics, and meditations. In them he recounts the struggles and triumphs of his own life and the lives of others-misfits, dreamers, sufferers and loners-exploring themes about New England, America, and the human heart. According to The Ruminator Review, his verse represents "one of the most individual and original bodies of work by a poet of his generation." A poetry editor for the 2010 Pushcart annual, Best of the Small Presses, 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 Ford Fellowship. 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 for his "distinguished contribution to the world of letters." 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 fifty anthologies and textbooks.

Portrait photo courtesy Dan Habib