FARMINGTON – Local legislators presented a special Legislative Sentiment to retiring Professor Wes McNair at the University of Maine Farmington recently.

On hand were Sen. Chandler Woodcock and Rep. Janet Mills, both of Farmington, and UMF President Theo Kalikow. Rep. Ray Pineau, who represents Mercer where McNair resides, was not able to attend.

The sentiment recognizes McNair’s productive career as a teacher and a poet, having published nine volumes of poetry and two books of essays and having edited two anthologies.

He served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry and received an Emmy Award, two National Endowment for the Arts grants and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy.

One of his poems, “Driving to Dark Country,” will be installed on a sign at the scenic Cathedral Pines turnout on Route 27 later this year.

Mills noted that Maine has good reason to be proud of its history of fostering talented poets, ranging from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Robert Tristram Coffin to Edna St. Vincent Millay and May Sarton.

Woodcock, who is a high school English teacher, noted that the Farmington community places great value on writing, and he praised McNair’s ability to inspire his students in their creative endeavors.

The sentiment noted that McNair’s poetry “is known for its moving and sensitive portrayals of the everyday life of people, and, although much of it has a regional flavor, the themes are universal. We acknowledge the illustrious career of Wesley McNair and we extend our congratulations and best wishes to him on his retirement.”

Farmington has recently become home to the Beloit Poetry Journal and has been the headquarters for Alice James Books for many years. Both journals publish nationally recognized poetry.

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