In this debut collection, Voodoo Inverso, Mark Wagenaar composes a startling mystical imagism and sets it to music, using self-portraits to explore differing physical and spiritual landscapes. He uses a variety of personae—a victim of sex trafficking in Amsterdam, a fichera dancer, a portrait haunted by Dante, a carillonneur of starlight, an elephant in pink slippers remembering its beloved—to silhouette the intricacies and frailties of the body and the world. In a series of “gospels” and “histories”—such as the poems “History of Ecstasy” and “Moth Hour Gospel”—he shines a light on the possibilities of transcendence and transfiguration, weaving together memory and loss with desire and hope.
About the Author
Mark Wagenaar is the winner of numerous poetry awards, including the Yellowwood Poetry Prize, the Gary Gildner Award, the Matt Clark Poetry Prize, and the Greg Grummer Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in such journals as New England Review, Subtropics, Southern Review, American Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, New Ohio Review, and Antioch Review. He lives in Denton, Texas.
“There is an ardent music behind Mark Wagenaar’s poetry, which feels like the music not just of his writing, but in an unusual way, of his heard thought. I love the surprises of image and experience, of lost and found footing, in this book; its openness, intelligence, and the quiet shine on the back of all the poems.”—Jean Valentine, Felix Pollak Prize judge and National Book Award Winner