Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Longfellow House: Wesley McNair and Franz Wright

The Sunday afternoon reading with Wesley McNair and Franz Wright was extraordinary. Events at the Longfellow House in Cambridge usually are held outside on the lawn, but after a day of downpours the reading was held in the air-conditioned carriage house (woo hoo!). As you can see, I sat very close.

Wesley McNair

I’ve been a longtime admirer of Wesley McNair’s work. He is the current poet laureate of Maine and teaches at Colby College. There’s a certain ease and grace that I’m drawn to in his poetry. As he said yesterday, “I came to poetry to talk about a broken family in a broken world. Poets are basically menders of broken things.” His most recent work is, Lovers of the Lost: New and Selected Poems.It was lovely chatting with him for a few minutes. And this is a first for me, McNair signed my copy of his book Fire, and dedicated one of the poems to me. Lovely.

Franz Wright

In recent months, Franz Wright has been ill, but he has been writing at a furious pace. It was nice to see him and hear him read new prose and verse poems. Wright read from a new chapbook, Kore, as well as poems from one of four upcoming collections. Always poignant. Always captivating. I was particularly moved by a poem about a peach tree growing in New England.

The contrast in styles really resonated with the audience, and both poets seem to have a nice back and forth during each other's time at the podium. It was a wonderful afternoon filled with verse. Thanks to the New England Poetry Club and the Longfellow House for bringing these two poets together.


Maureen said...

That must have been such a wonderful event.

I really like what McNair says about poets being "basically menders of broken things."

January said...

Yes, I think McNair must be a wonderful teacher. Those are words I will carry with me.


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