Jeanne Wagner is the recipient of several national awards. Her poems appear in Alaska Quarterly Review, Cincinnati Review, the PBS Poem of the Week website and Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. She has published five collections of poetry including In the Body of Our Lives, released by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2011.
Amoskeag: The 2012 issue has come to be known as the “Identity” issue; in what way does your work deal with “identity?”
Jeanne: “Losing Her” deals with the identity loss that comes with grief. In this case, an identification so strong it’s a physical identity that extends even to gender. The subject becomes a doppelganger seeking its other – becoming that other.
Amoskeag: In developing your main and supporting characters, how do you see them losing or finding themselves?
Jeanne: I’m not sure the character I’m writing about finds himself, but he finds the world made up of diverged halves seeking each other.
Amoskeag: What is the one line, the one sentence in your piece that for you sums up the meaning of “identity?”
Jeanne: “He hears the harmonics of hardness and hollow.”
Amoskeag: How do you identify yourself as a writer — how did you get here? Who/what made you so? Where have you come from? What have you gone through?
Jeanne: By profession, I’m a tax accountant. But I think I’ve always been a writer, if only a writer in my head. I’m what you might call “home-schooled.” I’ve learned mostly through reading others and through trial and error. A lot of error!
Amoskeag: What lies ahead for you?
Jeanne: More writing. Improvement, I hope. I’d like to do more writing in other genres.
To view an excerpt from Jeanne’s poem “Losing Her,” click here.