Department of Creative Writing

Legler, Gretchen
Professor Creative Writing
Phone: 207.778.7182
1994 PhD University of Minnesota; 1991 MA University of Minnesota; 1984 BA Macalester College
Areas of Expertise
Creative Writing: Composition, Creative Writing (Non-fiction-- including memoir, and the personal and lyric essay), Eco-Feminist Theory, Environmental Writing, Women's Studies

Gretchen Legler’s environmental nonfiction includes On The Ice: An Intimate Portrait of Life at McMurdo Station Antarctica (Milkweed Editions, 2005) and All The Powerful Invisible Things: A Sportswoman’s Notebook (Seal Press, 1995). Her essays have appeared in anthologies, magazines, and journals including Orion, the Georgia Review, Gifts of the Wild, A Different Angle, Isle, Matter, and Brevity. Her scholarly work in eco-criticism has appeared in journals and anthologies including Eco-Man and the Polar Journal. She received a National Science Foundation Artist and Writers Program Fellowship to spend six months in Antarctica in 1998, and received a 2012 Fulbright Fellowship to the Kingdom of Bhutan.  Her writing has been awarded the Association for Literature and Environment environmental creative writing award. Her current work explores living in rural Maine, and the quest for Happiness. Writer’s Website:  

McNair, Wesley
Professor Emeritus & Writer in Residence
Phone: 207.778.7425
1968 MA Middlebury College; 1975 MLITT Middlebury College
Areas of Expertise
Creative Writing: American Poetry and the American Literary Tradition, Creative Writing (Poetry and Memoir)

U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine has called Wesley McNair “one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry.” The author of nine volumes of poems, including Lovers of the Lost: New and Selected Poems, he has held grants from the Fulbright and Guggenheim foundations, two Rockefeller Fellowships, two NEA fellowships, and four honorary degrees for literary distinction. In 2006 he was selected for a United States Artists Fellowship of $50,000 as one of “America’s finest living artists.” Other honors include the Robert Frost Award, the Theodore Roethke Prize, an Emmy Award, and the Sarah Josepha Hale Medal. He was recently invited for the second time to read his poetry at the Library of Congress, and he has served four times on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. McNair's latest book, his eighteenth, is The Words I Chose, a memoir telling the story of how he became a poet. He is the Poet Laureate of Maine.

O'Donnell, Patricia
Professor English
Phone: 207.778.7419
1986 MFA University of Massachusetts at Amherst; 1981 MA University of Northern Iowa; 1979 BA University of Northern Iowa
Areas of Expertise
Creative Writing: Composition, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction Writing, The Short Story

Patricia O'Donnell directs the BFA Program in Creative Writing.  Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Agni Review, The North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Short Story, American Literary Review, and other journals and anthologies.  Her novel Necessary Places was published in 2012; her memoir Waiting to Begin in 2016; and her short story collection, Gods for Sale, won the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award and was published in 2017.

Thomson, Jeffrey
Professor of Creative Writing
Phone: 207.778.7454
1996 PhD University of Missouri; 1993 MA University of Missouri; 1989 BA Bradley University
Areas of Expertise
Creative Writing: 20th Century American Poetry, Creative Writing (poetry and nonfiction), Environmental Literature

Jeffrey Thomson is the author of four books of poems, including Birdwatching in Wartime, winner of both the 2010 Maine Book Award and the 2011 ASLE Award in Environmental Creative Writing, and Renovation.  Birdwatching in Wartime is currently being translated into Spanish and RussianHis translations of the Roman poet, Catullus, are forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.  In 2012 he was the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Poetry Centre at Queen’s University Belfast.  His website is