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Evening Chore
DreamSeeker Poetry Series 3

Poems by Shari Wagner
Cover art by John Domont

Summary: In Evening Chore, Wagner takes us with her to the far pasture, that borderland where at dusk the known meets the unknown, where details are at once familiar and mysterious, where "a kill-deer, plain-collared plover of open fields" circles above us, "with the pull of ocean in its flight."

This landscape is both personal and mythological, evoking those invisible connections that Wagner sensed from her extended Mennonite family as well as from time spent in Kenya, Somalia, and among the Choctaw in Louisiana. These connections bring together what are frequently viewed as opposites: nature and humanity, the dead and the living, time and eternity, mythology, and truth.

In recalling the haunting cry of the muezzin from the mosque, the harmony of a cappella singing and the sure voice of the poet's grandfather as he "shook the cows from the shadows," Evening Chore reverberates with "voices inside of voices, / husks beneath husks." See excerpt in DreamSeeker Magazine, Winter 2003.

Comment: "Evening Chore is a terrific book, full of wisdom, imagination, humor and magic. Shari Wagner's observant eye captures what has disappeared from view—a vanished bridge, a lost dog, an amazing heron, a way of life--and preserves it. In poems that are both calm and exact she records those haunted moments when the present splits open to reveal the astonishing past.
—Maura Stanton, Author, Glacier Wine

"With visual acuity and musical grace, Wagner invites us to hear and see what might be lost, illuminating for us our common histories as well as the strange and unfamiliar. We find ourselves standing with her in the garden where ‘the story of what / it loses is the story of what it loves,’ where we are travelers ‘drifting between darkness and light.’ And in this drifting we hear her voice calling us to come out of our own shadows as evening falls, to retrieve a forgotten or silenced voice, to recover the wonder of a place, and to enter the bittersweet, rhythmic sway of grief and love."
Jean Janzen, Author, Tasting the Dust

"These poems balance between endings and beginnings, between the twilit melancholy of evening and the jubilant rebirth of morning. A grandfather loses his memory, while a toddler meets his shadow for the first time. Survivors tend the graves of ancestors, while the stories of those ancestors, handed down, light the way for those now living. Even while she laments the losses that beset any life, Wagner also celebrates the goodness of growing things in poems charged with the clear light of praise."
—-Scott Russell Sanders, Author, Hunting for Hope

Market: Anyone open to poetry that blends high craft with mythmaking, faith, and passion.

The Author: Shari Wagner has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Indiana University, and her poems have appeared in various literary magazines, including Southern Poetry Review, Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review and in the anthology, A Cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry (University of Iowa Press). She has been awarded multiple fellowships from the Arts Council of Indianapolis as well as the Indiana Arts Commission and has taught writing in elementary schools, colleges and nursing homes. Evening Chore is her first collection of poems.

Shelving: Poetry; Anabaptist-Mennonite literature. BISAC: Poetry; RTM: 640 Poetry.

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House
Imprint: DreamSeeker Books
Copublisher: Herald Press, Scottdale, PA
Publication date: May 15, 2005 (copies available now)
Pages: 106
Format: 5.5 x 8.5 trade paper
Prices: $12.95 US, $18.95 Can.
ISBN: 1-931038-29-5

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Copyright 2005 by Cascadia Publishing House