FARMINGTON — Nonfiction writer and professor David Gessner read excerpts from his new book Thursday evening in the Olsen Student Center at the University of Maine at Farmington’s Visiting Writer Series.

UMF Professor of Creative Writing Jeffrey Thomson, who also runs the Visiting Writer Series, said that he had been trying to get Gessner to UMF for a reading “for a year and a half.”

Writing student Nathaniel Duggan introduced Gessner, describing him as a writer “with a reputation for telling things as they are.

“His writing remains consistent in its bluntness and capacity for analysis,” Duggan continued. “It’s this kind of talent that allows Gessner to transcend his role as irreverent jokester to become a perceptive, notable commentator on our constantly changing world.”

After being introduced, Gessner said that he had been touring behind his book for a while, and liked to do something different during the readings.

“I like to make things interesting for you,” Gessner said. “I’ve done a lot of ‘unwild’ traveling this fall. There have been a lot of airports, and those aren’t really that wild. I was home for a day and a half and managed to get into an argument about using screens too much. It’s been unwild in that way.”


Gessner read excerpts from his new book, “All the Wild That Remains,” which details the lives of Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner, two authors and essayists who focused on environmental issues, and his attempts to visit locations in the West that were special to them.

His reading transitioned from speaking about the lives of Abbey and Stegner to his own years in college, playing ultimate Frisbee with his fellow students and finding something “wild” in the game.

Gessner proved to have a sense of humor throughout the reading, frequently cracking jokes and directly addressing audience members.

Early in the reading, Gessner held up two pairs of glasses: one with small lenses and a thick black frame, and another with large lenses.

“I have one pair here that I can’t see as good with, but I look cool,” Gessner said, holding up the black-frame glasses, “and I have another pair where I look nerdy and can see good. Which should I wear?”

“The cool ones,” Professor of Creative Writing Pat O’Donnell said from the audience.

As the audience laughed, Gessner put the glasses on and thanked her for “the fashion tip.”

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