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The Indiana Poet Laureate represents the State of Indiana and the art of poetry through the development and implementation of programming to the education community and general public.
Shari Wagner was born in Goshen, Indiana and grew up in Wells County, near the small town of Markle. She earned a B.A. in English from Goshen College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Indiana University, Bloomington. Currently, she lives in Westfield, north of Indianapolis, and teaches for the Indianapolis Writers Center and Butler University's Religion, Spirituality & the Arts Seminar.
She is the author of two books of poetry: The Harmonist at Nightfall: Poems of Indiana (Bottom Dog Press, 2013) and Evening Chore (Cadcadia, 2005). Her poems have appeared in many publications, including North American Review, The Writer's Almanac, Shenandoah, Best American Nonrequired Reading, American Life in Poetry, and A Cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry (University of Iowa Press. She was co-winner of Shenandoah's The Carter Prize for the Essay (2009) and the recipient of two Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Fellowships, as well as 10 grants from the Indiana Arts Commission.
She is also co-author with her father of A Hundred Camels (Cascadia, 2009) and Making the Rounds: Memoir of a Small-Town Doctor and editor of Returning: Stories from the Indianapolis Senior Center (INwords, 2012).
Shari composed an original work of poetry in celebration of the Indiana Arts Commission's 50th Anniversary, and highlighting the impact of the arts on the lives of Hoosiers. Shari's work was recited by 2016 Indiana Poetry Out Loud State Champion Grace Milligan. The video is currently available on YouTube and can be viewed by clicking here.
(Photo by Rachel Greenberg)