Lovers of the Lost


Praised by Maxine Kumin as a "master craftsman," Donald Hall as "a true poet," and Philip Levine as "one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry," Wesley McNair has selected for this volume a wide range of narratives, lyrics, and meditations. In these poems he recounts the struggles and small triumphs of his own life and the lives of others—misfits, dreamers, sufferers and loners—seeking insights into New England, America, and the more obscure geography of the human heart. McNair's verse, whether about the trauma of family conflict, the perseverance of those around him, or the solace of place, represents a singular achievement, described by the Ruminator Review as "one of the most individual and original bodies of work by a poet of his generation."

For more than 40 years Wesley McNair has been writing poems that have drawn praise from reviewers and fellow poets alike. Lovers of the Lost displays some of his best poetry from six previous volumes, incorporating it with a sampling of new work.

The selections and new poems gathered here explore personal experience and the experience of others with curiosity, humor, and deep feeling, which ranges from sorrow to joy. They reveal the formal variety that has always been evident in McNair's free verse, as well as his trademark craftsmanship. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, McNair's aim as a poet is to be "both accessible and complex." Drawn from life, his poems find their truths in the small, often overlooked events of our common existence.

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Review by Kevin T. O'Malley in Harvard Review.