Maine Poetry Express

Poetry Express!

The “Maine Poetry Express” is a whistle-stop tour of readings of Maine poems by Maine people initiated and conducted by Maine’s Poet Laureate Wesley McNair. The Maine Poetry Express will visit the Camden Public Library on Tuesday evening, May 7, at 7:00 pm.

The Maine Poetry Express will make stops at fourteen locations throughout the state, bringing together poets and townspeople for shared readings that combine poetry with testimonies about its relevance to the struggles and pleasures of everyday life.

In addition to Wesley McNair, the evening’s proceedings will include readings by poets Ellen Taylor of Union and Dave Morrison of Camden. After a half-hour reading by the poets, several local “lay readers” will read poems of their choosing by Maine authors, and explain to the audience what the poems mean to them personally. The readers will include Camden’s Harbormaster, Steve Pixley; Dan Bookham, former local Chamber of Commerce director; Pastor Ted Kanellakis, [please suggest]; and Clio Berta, student at the Watershed School in Camden. There may also be a representative from the Middle School, which recently enjoyed a poetry workshop with Richard Blanco. Steve Pixley says that one of his poems will be drawn from a very local sources: reports found in the Harbormaster’s office. Ted Kanellakis, who is on the Committee on Indian Relations of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, will read some poetry by an Indigenous writer.

The objective of each event is to take poetry out of the ivory tower and put it in the hands of the people. “I have been at three events so far,” said McNair, “and the response of audiences, always large, has been enormously positive, and I expect a Camden audience will respond very well, too. Mixing in some local readers makes the evening events livelier!”

The Maine Poetry Express will make its run with help from the Maine Humanities Council. McNair has spent much of his professional career moving poetry out of its ivory tower and restoring its connection to the average person. Of his efforts, none have been more entertaining to more people across the state than this latest adventure. McNair says, “The primary goal of the Maine Poetry Express is to show that poetry belongs not only to literary specialists but to all of us. The interest is in acquainting both lay readers and audiences with Maine poetry — also with poets of their areas.” He adds, “This promises to be an evening of poetry as you’ve never heard it before.”