24th Reading


4th SUNDAY 02-26-12

D.R. Wagner

D. R. Wagner has always worked on the edge of language and was part of the early international concrete poetry movement in the 1960's. His work has been translated into several languages and has been frequently anthologized. He has authored 20+ books of poetry and letters, and has produced 50+ magazines and chapbooks. The chapbooks are mostly in mimeograph editions. He was the founder and editor at Niagara Press in Niagara Falls, New York, and Runciple Spoons Press in Sacramento, California. He founded and directed for six years, the Open Ring Galleries, a not-for-profit corporation for the arts in Sacramento, California. He has worked with and published poets such as d.a. levy, Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg, and Jim Morrison.

In addition to his literary accomplishments, D. R. Wagner is a singer-songwriter who writes musical compositions, a professional musician who plays guitar and keyboards, and for thirty years he has been a visual artist creating miniature needle-made tapestries that have been shown on all continents with the exception of Antarctica. His tapestries have won international awards and have appeared in numerous publications and museum collections. His band was called Runcible Spoon, from the Edward Lear 'Owl and the Pussycat'. They toured the United States and England.

For twenty years D.R. Wagner has been a Lecturer in Design at the University of California at Davis. He also teaches a Poetry by Design honors seminar and is an artist-in-residence with the California Arts 1 Council for Sacramento area elementary schools.

Most Recent Publications:

Where the Stars Are Kept
Published by Rattlesnake Press, Placerville, California

A Limited Means of Expression
Published by Rattlesnake Press, Placerville, California

A chapbook published by Green Panda Press, Cleveland, Ohio.

To review some of D.R. Wagner's work, visit Medusa's Kitchen.

FYI: If you are not familiar with Rattlesnake Press and Medusa's Kitchen, you should definitely check them out!

Email: drwagner@ucdavis.edu


This 02-26-12 D.R. Wagner eleven minute video recording clip is from our full showcase video recording that has been produced primarily to share with poets and audience members of A Starry Night Poetry Series. No part of this video recording may be reproduced without prior permission from featured poet/musician D.R. Wagner, other A Starry Night Poetry Series poets/musicians, and/or A Starry Night Productions. To secure permission please contact:

D.B. Pacini Email:

Nothing is worth more than this day.

A society grows great when old men plant trees
whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
Greek Proverb

I tell you, the more I think,
the more I feel that there is nothing
more truly artistic than to love people.
Vincent van Gogh

D.B. Pacini introducing featured poet/musician D.R. Wagner.

D.R. Wagner

Are we not like two volumes of one book?
Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Favor the question, always question.
Do not accept answers as definitive.
Answers change. Questions don't.
Elie Wiesel

The opposite of a correct statement
is a false statement.
But the opposite of a profound truth
may well be another profound truth.
Niels Bohr

Before you speak, ask yourself:
Is it necessary?
Is it true?
Does it improve on the silence?
Shirdi Sai Baba

Life's too short to be lukewarm.
Matt Redman

Worry is like a rocking chair,
it gives you something to do,
but it doesn't get you anywhere.

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance;
it is the illusion of knowledge.
Daniel Boorstin

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
AnaÔs Nin

Walk long enough and we all trade places.
Mark Nepo

Self-acceptance is my refusal
to be in an adversarial relationship to myself.
Nathaniel Branden

The eyes experience less stress
when they can look upon a wider horizon.
R.D. Chin

Photograph of a D.R. Wagner needle-made tapestry.

The actual task is to integrate
the two threads of oneís life,
the within and the without.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Native American Prayer

Plenty of people miss their share of happiness,
not because they never found it,
but because they didn't stop to enjoy it.
William Feather

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
Mark Twain

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Don't ask yourself what the world needs;
ask yourself what makes you come alive.
And then go and do that.
Because what the world needs
is people who have come alive.
Howard Thurman

We're all a little weird.
And life is a little weird.
And when we find
someone whose weirdness
is compatible with ours,
we join up with them and fall
into mutually satisfying weirdness
and call it love---true love.
Robert Fulghum

All I know is that I know nothing.

Set peace of mind as your highest goal,
and organize your life around it.
Brian Tracy

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass.
It is about learning to dance in the rain.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.
e. e. cummings

The bad news is you're falling through the air,
nothing to hang on to, no parachute.
The good news is, there's no ground.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave.
Frederick Buechner

Don't brood.
Get on with living and loving.
You don't have forever.
Leo Buscaglia

Wisdom looks to see the jewel or flower shining
beyond the unexpected places or secured position.
Spanish Saying

Those who mind don't matter,
and those who matter don't mind.
Bernard Baruch

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority,
it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor;
he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me.
The rest go on with their old measurements
and expect me to fit them.
George Bernard Shaw

Look up to the sky.
You'll never find rainbows if you're looking down.
Charlie Chaplin

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives
are only princesses waiting for us to act,
just once, with beauty and courage.
Perhaps everything that frightens us is,
in its deepest essence
something that wants our love.
Rainer Maria Rilke

It is what it is,
but it will be what you make it.
Pat Summit

In order to be a realist,
you must believe in miracles.
David Ben-Gurion

I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges

So many books, so little time.
Frank Zappa

Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.
Lemony Snicket
Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

Keep away from people
who try to belittle your ambitions.
Small people always do that,
but the really great
make you feel that you, too,
can become great.
Mark Twain

Let us read, and let us dance;
these two amusements will never
do any harm to the world.

What really knocks me out is a book that,
when you're all done reading it,
you wish the author that wrote it was
a terrific friend of yours
and you could call him up on the phone
whenever you felt like it.
That doesn't happen much, though.
J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye

Our lives begin to end the day
we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King Jr.

You have enemies? Good.
That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
Winston S. Churchill

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap
but by the seeds that you plant.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Vincent van Gogh cupcakes baked by Lisa Jett-Gallup.

Lisa Jett-Gallup

Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts.
William Shakespeare

We meet ourselves time and again
in a thousand disguises on the path of life.
Carl Jung

To live is the rarest thing in the world.
Most people exist, that is all.
Oscar Wilde

Jim Turner

Does one really have to fret about enlightenment?
No matter what road I travel, Iím going home.

The opposite of love is not hate,
its indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness,
its indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy,
its indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death,
its indifference.
Elie Wiesel

You're going to come across people in your life
who will say all the right words
at all the right times.
But in the end, it's always
their actions you should judge them by.
Its actions, not words that matter.
Nicholas Sparks
The Rescue

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends;
they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors,
and the most patient of teachers.
Charles William Eliot

Yes: I am a dreamer.
For a dreamer is one who
can only find his way by moonlight,
and his punishment is that he sees
the dawn before the rest of the world.
Oscar Wilde
The Critic as Artist

Wallace Condon

In the depth of winter,
I finally learned that within me
there lay an invincible summer.
Albert Camus

A great book should leave you with many experiences,
and slightly exhausted at the end.
You live several lives while reading.
William Styron

We are inclined to call things by the wrong names.
We call prosperity 'happiness'
and adversity 'misery'
even though adversity is the school of wisdom
and often the way to eternal happiness.
William Penn

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.
The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over
and let the beautiful stuff out.
Ray Bradbury

Tim Christensen

I do not understand the mystery of grace,
only that it meets us where we are
and does not leave us where it found us.
Anne Lamott

A good question is never answered.
It is not a bolt to be tightened into place
but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed
toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.
John Ciardi

I could give you no advice but this:
to go into yourself and to explore
the depths where your life wells forth.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day
is the rest we take between two deep breaths.
Etty Hillesum

Do all things with love.
Og Mandino

Hatch Graham

Who, being loved, is poor?
Oscar Wilde

Your life is shaped by the end you live for.
You are made in the image of what you desire.
Thomas Merton

The coming to consciousness is not a discovery of some new thing;
it is the long and painful return to that which has always been.
Helen Luke

In difficult times you should always carry
something beautiful in your mind.
Blaise Pascal

There is no duty we so much underrate
as the duty of being happy.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Painted by Hatch Graham (The Elder)

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself:
I, not events, have the power
to make me happy or unhappy today.
I can choose which it shall be.
Yesterday is dead,
tomorrow hasn't arrived yet.
I have just one day, today,
and I'm going to be happy in it.
Groucho Marx

Taylor Graham

We ought to think that we are
one of the leaves of a tree,
and the tree is all humanity.
We cannot live without the others,
without the tree.
Pablo Casals

I know I cannot paint a flower.
I cannot paint the sun on the desert
on a bright summer morning,
but maybe in terms of paint color
I can convey to you my experience
of the flower or the experience
that makes the flower of significance
to me at that particular time.
Georgia O'Keeffe

I went to the woods
because I wished to live deliberately,
to front only the essential facts of life,
and see if I could not learn
what it had to teach, and not,
when I came to die,
discover that I had not lived.

It's only when we truly know and understand
that we have a limited time on earth
and that we have no way of knowing
when our time is up
that we will begin to live
each day to the fullest,
as if it was the only one we had.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Now, after years of observation
and enough courage to admit
what I have observed,
I try to plant peace
if I do not want discord;
to plant loyalty and honesty
if I want to avoid betrayal and lies.
Maya Angelou

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

True love stories never have endings.
Richard Bach

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
Victor Borge

I thank You God for most this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite.
which is yes.
e. e. cummings

Peace comes from
being able to contribute
the best that we have,
and all that we are,
toward creating a world
that supports everyone.
But it is also securing
the space for others to contribute
the best that they have
and all that they are.
Hafsat Abiola

If you notice anything,
it leads you to notice more and more.
Mary Oliver

Everyone must have two pockets,
with a note in each pocket,
so that he or she can
reach into the one or the other,
depending on the need.
When feeling lowly, depressed,
discouraged, or disconsolate,
one should reach into the right pocket,
and, there, find the words:
"For my sake was the world created."
But when feeling high and mighty
one should reach into the left pocket,
and find the words:
"I am but dust and ashes."
Rabbi Simcha Bunim

Featured Poet/Musician D.R. Wagner
Encore Song Request

Without a change in behavior,
there will be no change in consciousness.
Ashwini Narayanan

There is something healing
in the repeated refrains of nature,
the assurance that dawn
comes after night,
and spring after the winter.
Rachel Carson

I would love to live like a river flows,
carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.
John OíDonohue

May you live every day of your life.
Jonathan Swift

If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand,
don't remove it - I might be writing in my dreams.
Danzae Pace

If you are going through hell, keep going.
Winston S. Churchill

Lessie Bond

Make it a rule never to give a child
a book you would not read yourself.
George Bernard Shaw

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out.
Roy Croft

He who learns teaches.
African Proverb

Our deepest fears are like dragons
guarding our deepest treasure.
Rainier Maria Rilke

Grief can be the garden of compassion.
If you keep your heart open through everything,
your pain can become your greatest ally
in your life's search for love and wisdom.

We have, as human beings,
a storytelling problem.
We're a bit too quick
to come up with explanations
for things we don't really
have an explanation for.
Malcolm Gladwell

The point is that in your life,
unless you make specific time
for something that you feel committed to,
you will always have other obligations
and you will always be too busy.
Dalai Lama

Jared Coffey

Men are not prisoners of fate,
but only prisoners of their own minds.
They have within themselves
the power to become free at any moment.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is never too late
to be what you might have been.
George Eliot

For one human being to love another:
that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks;
the ultimate, the last test and proof,
the work for which
all other work is but preparation.
Rainer Maria Rilke

No matter what someone else has done,
it still matters how we treat people.
Judith Butler

Sometimes I go about with pity for myself
and all the while Great Winds are carrying me across the sky.
Ojibwe Saying

Dr. Jf (Jose) Cantu

The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
Baba Ram Dass

Do you know what astonished me the most in this world?
The inability of force to create anything.
Napoleon Bonaparte

If you light a lamp for somebody,
it will also brighten your path.

My religion is very simple.
My religion is kindness.
The Dalai Lama

An author in his book
must be like God in the universe,
present everywhere and visible nowhere.
Gustave Flaubert

A person's true wealth
is the good he or she does in the world.

What we have before us
are some breathtaking opportunities
disguised as insoluble problems.
John Gardner

A word is not the same with one writer as with another.
One tears it from his guts.
The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.
Charles Peguy

Find out the reason that commands you to write;
see whether it has spread its roots
into the very depth of your heart;
confess to yourself
you would have to die
if you were forbidden to write.
Rainer Maria Rilke

There are thousands of thoughts
lying within a man that he does not know
till he takes up the pen and writes.
William Makepeace Thackeray

In general,
and most especially with artists,
I pay as much attention to the man who does the work,
as to the work itself.
Vincent van Gogh

J. Lynn o'Flaherty

Be yourself if you ever hope to be somebody.

Donít be fooled by the calendar.
There are only as many days
in the year as you make use of.
Charles Richards

Learning is wealth that canít be stolen.
Philippine Proverb

Stop using others as your mirror.
Itís how you view yourself thatís important.
Nancy E. Krulik

There is no such thing as a 'self-made' man.
We are made up of thousands of others.
Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us,
or spoken one word of encouragement to us,
has entered into the make-up
of our character and of our thoughts,
as well as our success.
George Matthew Adams

You are today where your thoughts have brought you;
you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.
James Lane Allen

Songwriter Bob Kent

There are some men who lift the age they inhabit,
till all men walk on higher ground in that lifetime.
Maxwell Anderson

What I spent is gone;
what I kept, I lost;
but what I gave away will be mine forever.
Ethel Percy Andrus

D.B. Pacini

You've got to make a conscious choice
every day to shed the old,
whatever 'the old' means for you.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Creativity comes from trust.
Trust your instincts.
Rita Mae Brown

If you can find a path with no obstacles,
it probably doesn't lead anywhere.
Frank A. Clark

Jared Coffey

When you're through changing, you're through.
Bruce Barton

Image of mural created by local artist Tony Segale.

Tony Segale's Website

D.R. Wagner's Vriesea Bromeliad Plant.