Missouri Poet Laureate for 2021-2023, Maryfrances Wagner is the author of nine books, including Solving for X (Spartan Press, 2022); Red Silk (BKMK Press, 2022), winner of the Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award; The Silence of Red Glass (Bob Woodley Memorial Press, 2018); The Immigrants’ New Camera (Spartan Press, 2018); Light Subtracts Itself (The Mid-America Press, Inc. 2008); and Salvatore’s Daughter (BKMK Press, 1995). As poet laureate, Wagner created the Missouri Haiku Project to encourage the writing and dissemination of poetry throughout the state.
Wagner serves as president of The Writers Place (TWP) in Kansas City, and chairs the TWP’s programming committee, sponsoring and promoting emerging and established writers. Wagner currently coedits the literary journal I-70 Review, where she has been a staff member since 2010.
Recipient of the 2020 Missouri Arts Award, Wagner taught high-school and college students while also editing and writing poetry from her home in Independence, MO. Her work reflects her home state but includes themes of nature and of family, both of particular importance to her. She uses her family history and oral tradition as inspiration for many of her works.