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Poetry. IN THE BODY OF OUR LIVES, Jeanne Wagner's second full-length collection of poems, looks back on a Cold War-era childhood and its effect on the construction of a self. Refusing both sentimentality and censure, the poet shines an unflinching light on a home characterized by alienation, stringent Catholicism, shadowy alcoholism, and the inescapable attitudes and historic events of the 1950s. We proceed by images—the stitching up of Frankenstein's monster, cups wobbling on a dinner table, a child's desire to wear her clothing inside out—until we realize that it is a life that is being crafted. With intelligence and vivid language, Wagner writes of the body as a perpetual stranger, yet, illuminated by subtly shifting qualities of light, the body remains a home, the housing of life itself.
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Jeanne Wagner is the recipient of several national awards, including the 2009 Briar Cliff Review Award and the 2011 Inkwell Poetry Competition, judged by Mark Doty. Her poems have appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, Nimrod, Cincinnati Review, and Mississippi Review. In addition to IN THE BODY OF OUR LIVES, she has four other collections of poetry, including The Zen Piano-Mover, winner of the 2004 Stevens Manuscript Award. She lives in Kensington, California.Review:
"Jeanne Wagner's poetry rides through a landscape both familiar in its humanity and astonishingly new. Her fluid syntax and inventive diction flood into hidden and unexpected fissures of experience and memory. She seems to carve out new spaces where images pour into and out of one another and where metaphors appear like undiscovered species, strange yet perfectly adapted to her world. Her imagination ranges from the cellular level to the cosmic reaches and from the Arctic to the Flamingo Motel of Berkeley. She activates the nuances of language itself, its near-lost etymologies and inherent double entendres, to explore the dark complications of home and relationship, grief, emotional deafness, the estranging skin, sin, and redemption. These poems move and amaze and consistently enlighten." --—Jeanne Emmons
"At once analytic and passionate, In the Body of Our Lives draws us, with acute emotional precision, into the physical and the tangible in a world increasingly obsessed with the virtual. Jeanne Wagner explores with great skill and feeling the dichotomy of mind/body dualism. This collection is a stunningly beautiful and seamlessly nuanced account of what it means to live in our own bodies as well as in the body of our lives." --—Carol Frith
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Book Description Sixteen Rivers Press, 2011. Perfect Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0981981631