Shari Wagner

  • Literature
Wagner, Shari

“Because of the success of this fellowship experience, I am not only committed to writing a book of essays inspired by my experiences with the Clifton-Choctaw, but to developing a professional identity as both poet and essayist.”

Shari used her fellowship to reunite with the Clifton-Choctaw, a Louisiana tribe that she had lived and worked with in the 1980s as a historical researcher, folk art facilitator and tutor. Initially setting out to write poems about the Clifton-Choctaw, she ended up writing essays. "The 'weaving' I wanted to do - working with strands of memory, history, folklore, traditions and dreams - seemed better suited to the essay form. This form also allowed me to work in details of my present life and contrast the traditions and values of the Clifton-Choctaw people with trends I see in contemporary society."

Shari studied essays by other poets as well as her own previous writings on the tribe before beginning a new series of essays inspired by her experiences. She has completed and published two essays and is working on a third. "Having a second essay accepted by North American Review and receiving strongly positive feedback from other writers who read my third essay, I now feel that I can be both an accomplished poet and essayist."


  • Author of Evening Chore, a book of poetry and editor of her father’s memoir, A Hundred Camels: A Mission Doctor’s Sojourn and Murder Trial in Somalia
  • Essay, “Camels, Cowries & A Poem For Aisha” received The Carter Prize for the Essay (2009, co-winner) from Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review
  • On July 2, 2010, Garrison Keillor read Shari’s poem, “The Farm Wife Sells Her Cows,” on The Writer’s Almanac
Joomla SEF URLs by Artio

Thank you to our funders

City of Indy logo
Indiana Arts Commission
Clowes Charitable Foundation