Poetry. A lot gets in the way of the revolution. Plants for president. Catherine Wagner is trying to figure out how to be in good relation when the revolution isn't come. OF COURSE is about burnout, and loneliness in a crowd: The lonely is a white middle-aged cis-het woman academic and the crowd is crickets. Power makes sex hurt. Harm is embedded in English. Cricket-sound is absent from concrete. The author burns out alongside world burnout, happening unevenly and much harder/hotter for many than for the author—fires and rising waters, fascism, the race-track, slowburn genocide, species death. Wagner is a single mom and academic with a tenured job, which means she has the same employment protections that every single worker should have.
Catherine Wagner was born in Myanmar (then Burma) during the Vietnam War to American military parents, afterwards living in the Philippines, Indonesia, Yemen, and India before moving to the US. She is professor of creative writing at Miami University, where she is a university labor organizer and founding member of the Environmental Humanities Research Collaborative. Wagner holds a PhD in English: Creative Writing from the University of Utah and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. 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. Her latest books include OF COURSE (Fence Books, 2020), NERVOUS DEVICE (City Lights, 2012), MY NEW JOB (Fence, 2009), MACULAR HOLE (Fence Books, 2004), and MISS AMERICA (Fence Books, 2001). Her writing on academic labor has appeared in Poetry and Work: Work in Modern and Contemporary Anglophone Poetry (Palgrave, 2019), Toward.Some.Air: Remarks on Poetics (Banff Centre Press, 2015), World Social and Economic Review of Contemporary Policy Issues (2017), Poetic Labor Project, and elsewhere. Recent poems appear in Poetry, Brooklyn Rail, Lana Turner, Chicago Review and other journals. She currently occupies a rectangular urban plot in a riverine valley, site of the still- embattled abolitionist/anti-abolitionist city Cincinnati, Ohio. From a blockhouse nearby, the first US Army marched north in the 1790s to battle the Miami-Shawnee coalition in a war that made heritable private property in the Ohio Valley safe for invading settler-colonizers and served as a template for ongoing continental and intercontinental genocide and ecocide. Although at present she continues to pay down her mortgage, she seeks to unsettle herself, her neighbors, her son and her cat.Author City: OXFORD, OH USA