Perfect bound paper, 6” X 8” Poetry. 98 pages. $15.00 May 1, 2015 978-1-939301-74-1
Maryfrances Wagner reinvents the process of memory as she guides readers through living tableaux of her past. Her views of Italian American life in the heartland annotates a rich cultural heritage. This award-winning poet shares a rich store of vivid imagery and passion, whimsy and reflection. Enjoy these verse dramas!
The poems in Dioramas focus mainly on moments lost to the sneak-thief Time, moments sometimes observed with an apt touch of humor. Whether she’s writing about her Italian brother’s blip of fame dancing past a lower corner of the TV picture in an Arthur Murray Party broadcast or about a good friend dying of AIDS or about the evanescent beauty of cicadas, Maryfrances Wagner does so with passion and craftsmanship, showing what a gifted poet with a generous heart can do. ~William Trowbridge, Put This On, Please: New and Selected Poems
It resembles the precision of Emily Dickinson’s “zero at the bone,” when Maryfrances Wagner describes black snakes as “tape measures of ustacked kindling.” It resembles Dickinson’s head-taken-off urgency, when Wagner leans us “over the cliff’s edge, / holding these lives against our lives.” And it resembles Dickinson’s commitment to slant-told truth, when Wagner declares that “I can only tell you this in tulip language.” Of Maryfrances Wagner’s Dioramas, know this: tulip language spoken here. ~H. L. Hix, First Fire, Then Birds
In Dioramas, Maryfrances Wagner catches the sheen and under sheen of our lives in passionate, longing, resonant language. Like Chaucer, she celebrates the human parade; all manner of folk appear and turn as she notes the hum and tick of their lives. Wagner likes her readers. She wants to be understood. In her clear yet tantalizingly mysterious voice, “like a watermark,” we find joy, darkness, chagrin, and awe—a rare and enviable complexity. ~ Jo McDougall, Under an Arkansas Sky
Maryfrances Wagner, an award-winning poet, is a literary advocate and community builder. Wagner’s writings about Italian American life have been anthologized by Pearson/Longman and others. Her work appears in New Letters, Laurel Review, Birmingham Review, Nebraska Review, Midwest Quarterly, and others. Her previous books of poetry include Salvatore’s Daughter (BkMk), Red Silk (Mid-America), winner of the Thorpe Menn Book Award for Literary Excellence), and Light Subtracts Itself (Mid-American). She co-edits I-70 Review.