Carmel resident to write poems inspired by historical Hoosiers


By Laura Anderson

Growing up in Somalia instilled in Shari Wagner a fascination with landscape. She later channeled her fascination into poetry when she moved to Indiana.

Wagner often writes poems inspired by Indiana lands and landmarks. She is the author of “The Harmonist at Nightfall,” “The Farm Wife’s Almanac” and “Evening Chore,” which all include vivid scenery.

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As Indiana’s Poet Laureate in 2016 and 2017, Wagner worked to install poetry into the scenery of Indiana parks through her project “Arts in the Parks.”

She recently received a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission to create a book of poetry about Hoosier historical figures. Her goal is to create a book “which, as it explores the human heart, also examines the significance of Indiana’s history (and) landscapes.”

Wagner will explore how the figures left an impact not only on history, but on Indiana’s mindset and social consciousness. She will write about 10 figures during the grant period, including Melba Phillips, Cole Porter and Juliet Strauss, among others.

Wagner will conduct poetry workshops as part of her “Arts in the Parks” initiative at the Limberlost State Historic Site in Geneva. The workshops are free except for a small fee for guided tours by a naturalist. The goal is to help people realize that “nature and poetry are linked.”

Wagner also read for Brick Street Poetry Sept. 5 at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center. She also will read at the Carmel International Arts Festival at 11:20 a.m. Sept. 28 on a stage near Bub’s in downtown Carmel. She will present persona poems from the voices of the historical Hoosiers.

For more or to sign up for her workshops, visit