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Catherine Wagner

Catherine Wagner


Born 1969 in Rangoon, Burma, where my father was working for the US Army; my family lived in Indonesia, the Philippines, Yemen and India before moving to Baltimore, Maryland shortly after Carter was elected and long lines at the gas pumps and feathered hair came into vogue. I am associate professor of creative writing at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where I live with my son. Books include My New Job, Macular Hole, and Miss America (all from Fence) and various pamphlets, including this one and this one from the Dusie kollektiv. PennSound has some audio recordings up and some poems are here and here. I edited a selection of previously unpublished poems by Barbara Guest for Chicago Review’s Guest issue. An online tribute that gathers writings on the late Leslie Scalapino, edited by Cara Benson, Elizabeth Benson and me, is here.





  • My New Job, Fence Books, October 2009
  • Not for Mothers Only: Contemporary Poems on Child-Getting and Child-Rearing, anthology edited with Rebecca Wolff, Fence Books, May 2007
  • Macular Hole, Fence Books, May 2004
  • Miss America, Fence Books, November 2001


  • Bornt, handmade miniature chapbook, Dusie, Switzerland, 2008
  • Articulate How, Dusie/Big Game Books, Washington DC, 2008
  • Hole in the Ground, Slack Buddha Press, Oxford OH, 2008
  • Everyone in the room is a representative of the world at large, Bonfire Press, Fort
  • Collins, CO, 2007
  • Imitating, Leafe Press, London, England, 2004
  • Exercises, 811 Books, New York, 2003
  • Hotel Faust, West House Books/Gratton Street Irregulars, Sheffield, England, 2001
  • Box Poems, Seeing Eye Books, Los Angeles, 2001
  • Fraction Anthems, 811 Books, San Francisco, 1999

Sample Text

From “Male Flags”


The last time I was anywhere
I enjoyed erotica made only of color
 Fields placiding intramural
 Composting or illegal downshifting
 Of light and dark
   Colors derailing
Out of view, behind
 The station, acting intra.

Those colors were agents    From the Sun—

(fluorescence—neon—stimulated gas—
diodes also—cased in plastic—
also from the Sun)

If everything is from the Sun why praise it.

I didn’t say I was praising.
 One who makes odes is an odor.
  Two who make odes are nearly perfume.

Some animal bothering the house, I won’t look, it is from the Sun.

I split the sun into parts when I look (whom praise for that?)

I don’t split the sun into as many parts as rock shrimp do (27-part
  Color spectrum)
  But I can try to see colors I can’t see, I don’t think a rock shrimp can
 Try not to be angry not to be
A rock shrimp, I am angry about inequality and glad

 Too, fuck me
Whacked the fly but only a piece of it!
The rest flew away!


  • Kunin, Aaron. "What if the citizen is a girl?" Action Yes Winter 2009
  • McClennan, Rob. "Lit from Below." Agora 10 January 2010
  • McSweeney, Joyelle. "In Circulation: Catherine Wagner’s My New Job" Montevidayo 10 September 2010
  • Waters, Jacqueline. "Impression of a Deluxe Life." Coldfront 1 August 2010.
  • Wintz, Sara. Poetry Project Newsletter #224 October/November 2010
  • Swensen, Cole. "Zirconia and Miss America." Boston Review Summer 2002

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