Voodoo Inverso by Mark WagenaarVoodoo Inverso by Mark Wagenaar

Voodoo Inverso

byMark Wagenaar

Paperback | March 26, 2012

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In this debut collection, Voodoo Inverso, Mark Wagenaar composes a startling mystical imagism and sets it to music, using self-portraits to explore differing physical and spiritual landscapes. He uses a variety of personae—a victim of sex trafficking in Amsterdam, a fichera dancer, a portrait haunted by Dante, a carillonneur of starlight, an elephant in pink slippers remembering its beloved—to silhouette the intricacies and frailties of the body and the world. In a series of “gospels” and “histories”—such as the poems “History of Ecstasy” and “Moth Hour Gospel”—he shines a light on the possibilities of transcendence and transfiguration, weaving together memory and loss with desire and hope.

Mark Wagenaar is the winner of numerous poetry awards, including the Yellowwood Poetry Prize, the Gary Gildner Award, the Matt Clark Poetry Prize, and the Greg Grummer Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in such journals as New England Review, Subtropics, Southern Review, American Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, New Ohio Review...
Title:Voodoo InversoFormat:PaperbackDimensions:80 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:March 26, 2012Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299288145

ISBN - 13:9780299288143

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Read from the Book

When the body is laid down
in its longing—the mosaic of veins at our wrists & feet
patterned after dogwood blossoms,
the pulsatile sun beneath our ribs, the three-day darkness
between them—it’s wound with the same water that bears
the day’s ashes to a vanishing point west of west.
—excerpt from “The Other World”
© The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents


Part I: Self-Portraits & Disappearances

Chiropractic (Bootblacks & Light Bulbs)


The History of Ecstasy


Voodoo Inverso (Self-Portrait)

Slow Migration Towards Ecstasy

Nocturne Past Dreaming

A Splinter of the Buddha's Tooth

Portraits of the Artist with Montale

A Parade of Ghosts

The Other World

Self-Portrait of the Artist as Io

Portrait of the Artist with Dante

Sun Goin Down Bad Luck Blues

Deer Hour Gospel

The Way of All Flesh

Dusk Hour Gospel (Each Poem is a Poem of Exile)

Part II: The Litter Bearers

Zen River Travel

Tulip Mania (The New Numerology)

The History of Your Life in a Hair Strand


Elegiac Stanzas

Gacela of the Wounds

Consolations of the New Day

Since You Asked

A Blessing

Preparing the Table

Gacela of the Bright Omen

A Life Buried in Water

Six Prayer Kites over Rock Island

The Butcher with Nothing But Bones



Film 101: Final Exam

Survival Plans

The Disciples Question Their Yogi

Deep Image Hall of Fame

The Joke

Orpheus Amongst the Fishbones

Other Equations for Velocity

Lines for a Thirtieth Birthda

The Other Side of the Curtain

Elegy with Two Lemons

The Litter Bearers

Part III: Aubades & Nocturnes

Bat Hour Gospel

Unknowable Aubade

Early Hymn from Humpback Rock

Nail Bed Gospel

Baladère Notturno

Carnival Nocturne

Domestic Nocturne

Sixth Finger Gospel


Nocturne of a Thousand & One Notes

Nocturne: Exit Music for a Film

Thinking of Thomas à Kempis on a Fall Evening

Unknowable Nocturne


Moth Hour Gospel

Editorial Reviews

“There is an ardent music behind Mark Wagenaar’s poetry, which feels like the music not just of his writing, but in an unusual way, of his heard thought. I love the surprises of image and experience, of lost and found footing, in this book; its openness, intelligence, and the quiet shine on the back of all the poems.”—Jean Valentine, Felix Pollak Prize judge and National Book Award Winner