Catherine Wagner
Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 7:00 P.M., City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco

celebrating the latest release in the Spotlight Poetry Series

Nervous Device

published by City Lights Books

In Nervous Device, Catherine Wagner takes inspiration from William Blake's "bounding line" to explore the poem as a body at the intersection between poet and audience. Using this figure as a model for various sexual, political, and economic interactions, Wagner's poems shift between seductive lyricism and brash fragmentation as they negotiate the failure of human connection in the twilight of American empire. Intellectually informed, yet stubbornly insistent on their own objecthood, and taking a bewildering variety of forms, the poems of Nervous Device express a self-conscious skepticism about the potential for human connection even as they maintain an optimistically charged eroticism.

The author of three previous full-length collections, Catherine Wagner was born in Burma during the Vietnam War to American military parents, afterwards living in the Philippines, Indonesia, Yemen, and India before moving to the U.S. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop (where she studied with Jorie Graham and Donald Revell) and a PhD from the University of Utah. She has written criticism on Barbara Guest, Leslie Scalapino and Harryette Mullen, among others, and has published chapbooks with the Dusie collective and other small presses. Her poems appear in the Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry and Out of Ev­erywhere: Linguistically Innovative Poetry by Women in North America and the UK, among other anthologies. She's currently an Associate Professor of English at Miami University in Ohio.

Books related to this event:

Product image
Nervous Device
City Lights Spotlight No. 8
Catherine Wagner
2012 Edition
With Nervous Device, Catherine Wagner explores the boundary the poem marks between poet and audience, questioning the potential for human connection.