INDIANAPOLIS -- On New Year’s Day Indiana’s new Poet Laureate will begin her two-year term. Shari Wagner, from Westfield, recites a poem entitled “These Rocks” from her new book The Harmonist at Nightfall: Poems of Indiana.
"I want to know these scoured rocks, the way a blind woman knows her house, understand their journey, listen to the creak of a glacier beneath the crust."
The piece is about one of Wagner’s favorite spots in Indiana, Turkey Run State Park. Nature inspired her to start writing in her early teens, after her family moved to Somalia for a year.
"I was really fascinated by the desert area, so different than the woods and cornfields where I grew up, and the ocean too… so I started writing poems," Wagner said.
Wagner grew up in rural Wells County. The married mother of two has spent the past few years teaching and traveling Indiana writing about historical sites and nature preserves.
Stepping into the role of Poet Laureate as Indiana celebrates its bicentennial and the centennial of its state parks, she hopes other Hoosiers will be able to connect poem and place.
"I think when you have those stories connected to the particular place you’re not going to destroy them but honor them, so I hope with my poetry I’m helping in that way." Wagner said.
Wagner is Indiana’s sixth Poet Laureate. The program was started in 2006 as a way to increase awareness of poetry and the power of the written word.