The Unfastening

by Wesley McNair

Behind the poems of The Unfastening is the story of a narrator who returns from despair. Beginning with personal reflections of grief and loss, he moves to the losses of others, both encountered and remembered: a Japanese war bride whose husband's untimely death leaves her with two young children far from home; a survivalist who talks to deer after his family has left him; a failed painter who ropes himself to his windswept roof to view the beauty of coastal islands. The pursuit of beauty in the face of darkness is central to the book's positive conclusion, as are the bond with a loved one, the connection with others, and the blessings of the natural world. Combining sadness, compassion, and affirmation, this collection offers not only the work of a mature poet, but a vision of life.

published by David R. Godine, 2017

Select Praise

"The poems in The Unfastening possess a distinctly New England strain of candor and restraint and a walloping matter-of-factness… [They] whisper at an understated tenderness, an availability to being moved."

– Nina MacLaughlin, The Boston Globe.

"...some of the most skillfully processed poetic language practiced in Maine in recent decades...The effects of this poetry are remarkable."

– – Dana Wilde, The Waterville Morning Sentinel