Maine Poet Laureate to visit Rumford Library on Oct. 23

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RUMFORD — The Rumford Public Library is inviting Maine Poet Laureate Wesley McNair to read from his new book of poetry at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Rumford Public Library community room.

“We’re honored to be the first audience, after Portland, to hear Wes McNair read from his new work,” Library Director Luke Sorensen said. “His visit underscores the success of our Thursday poetry program.”

Sorensen said that the Thursday Poetry Group began last spring, spearheaded by the late Andra Beauchesne and other members of the Friends of the Rumford Library group, as a way to get residents of all ages interested in reading and discussing poetry.

Friends of the Rumford Library President Jane Shuck said that readers and writers from Rumford, Mexico, Gilead, Newry, Roxbury and Bethel gather on the fourth Thursday of every month at the Rumford Public Library to read their own poems, as well as poems from renowned writers.

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“We felt sure that there were poets in our communities, and we were right,” Shuck said.

McNair, a native of northern New England, released his new collection of poetry, “The Lost Child: Ozark Poems,” earlier in 2014.

In a Rumford Public Library news release, McNair said that “’The Lost Child’ came out of the grief I felt before and after my mother’s death.”

“I wrote the book to reconcile with her and to remember her,” McNair said.

McNair has read his poetry at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and has won several awards throughout his career, including fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Fulbright foundations, the Robert Frost prize and an Emmy Award.

Sorensen added that McNair was recently selected from an American Artists Fellowship as one of America’s “finest living artists.”

McNair is currently retired from the University of Maine at Farmington and is running an initiative called “Written Word, Spoken Word and Hip-Hop” that he hopes will make poetry more popular with students.

The program is free and open to the public, Sorensen said.

For more information, call 364-3661.

mdaigle@sunjournal.com

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