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D.R. Wagner

Reading from his Quartet of Books "Distant Lights"

Saturday, April 24 2021 from 1-4 PM

A LIVE reading at Locke Community Gardens

Release Party


COLD RIVER PRESS, is proud to announce the release of D.R. Wagner’s quartet, DISTANT LIGHTS.

Two and a half years in the making, this four book compilation is the latest in a series of books from COLD RIVER PRESS featuring the renowned poet and internationally known artist, D.R. Wagner.

The first book of the quartet, THE STILLNESS BEFORE SPEECH, is a 90-page tome that couples D.R.’s poetry with digital artist, Bodhi. Working completely in computerized art, Bodhi brings to life images that examine the underlying psyche of a uniform life, challenging that understanding with symbols that have survived for millennia. Supplying both the cover art and inside illustrations, Bodhi’s unique style compliments the story that D.R. weaves as he explores the manyfaceted levels of speech, the need for expression, the overwhelming desire to be heard, and the resounding satisfaction that can be obtained while observing the “stillness before speech.”

The second book of the quartet, OBJECTS OF DESIRE, is 88pp of D.R.’s featuring cover art from modern surreal artist, Steven Kenny. Kenny’s award-winning paintings are exhibited in galleries across the United States and Europe. Employing Old Master oil painting techniques, creating images that are visually reminiscent of the Renaissance and Northern Baroque periods, his surreal compositions combine the human figure with elements from nature to comment on our interactions with the environment while symbolically alluding to the multi-faceted dynamics of human nature in general.

Illustrated by Elizabeth Chape, her exquisitely shaded drawings nicely encourage the reader
to travel further into the world that D.R. has created. Be they fanciful, or abstract, or simply sketches of time frozen in place, they allow impermanence of the static world we are so used to, allowing us to drift freely with the poet as he unveils the world vision that evolves from his mind’s eye.

The third book of the quartet, A BOOK OF FIXED STARS, brings 128 pages of writing to
life with the assistance of cover art from the immense talent that is Arthur Gonzalez. Dark, and foreboding, Gonzalez’s works encourage serious deliberation and reflection on the relationship between personal concerns and world issues. His artwork, “Stroke” 2001, from the Cadence In Stupidity Series, is a perfect introduction that allows a moment of contemplation before undertaking a journey that explores both nature and the universe as only D.R. can explore.

Assisted by the intensely thought-provoking images that are a mainstay in artist Brock Alexander’s illustrations, as the reader moves through the book, going from section to section, the reader finds themselves engrossed in the magical interplay of words and images as they lay out a path towards a transcendental state where both forms merge as one, allowing a guiding beacon of thought to be revealed. From Gonzalez’s beginning cover image to the last word written, A Book Of Fixed Stars, truly outlines a unique and magical journey.

The fourth, and last book of the quartet, YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE, is a perfect end to the elaborately constructed message that Wagner brings. Featuring 132 pp of both prose and poetry, the book features cover artwork from another internationally acclaimed artist, Fred Dalkey. Known for paintings that shift the focus away from the subject to the act of “seeing,” his oil painting “Light Rail At 34th St” is an appropriate image with which to begin entry into Wagner’s “Pilgrimage”. Combined with Dalkey’s luminous, Sanguine Conte drawings of figures and still life’s, the pairing of this imagery with Wagner’s prose and poetry deftly elevates the reader to their own inner pilgrimage, allowing for an increased consciousness of the senses that illuminates the journey Wagner has woven in this book of spiritual peace.

In the words of Pulitzer nominated writer, Diane Seuss;

“D.R. Wagner...offers us luminous, open-armed, transcendental, visionary work, poems aware of the body, the
sea, desire, and the moon. I read D.R. Wagner to feel again, to remember love, and music, and the mysticism of
the natural world, where ‘The sun works a terrible magic.’ There is a sense of a lifelong pilgrim rounding a curve,
witnessing and feeling without artifice. It requires a seasoned audacity to claim that ‘we are indeed the door to the
heavens.’ By the end of this collection, I believe him.”

Locke Community Gardens