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Cover for The New Life


in the fall

of 2024!

The New Life is a braided collection of poems that explores motherhood through the lens of a fractured childhood and intergenerational loss and trauma. Moving through the intense years of early motherhood, the speaker’s childhood memories and fears muscle their way into her consciousness. Stories of loss return throughout the book: a grandmother’s stillbirth, a child lost on the boat from Russia to the U.S., friends’ miscarriages and child losses. There are poems written in the wake of 9/11 and Sandy Hook. Throughout the manuscript, we see the speaker wrestling with the turmoil of raising children in a volatile, violent world.

"The capacious, tender poems of Wendy Wisner's The New Life range from the peach fuzz on a new baby's head and the leaky, weepy days of early motherhood to midlife, postpartum sex, and the legacy of intergenerational trauma. "It's dangerous // to be a baby, a child / in this world," Wisner reminds us--but these wise, well-crafted poems insist on the wonder and treasure of raising children, too."


—Nancy Reddy, author of Pocket Universe and co-editor of The Long Devotion: Poets Writing Motherhood


"Wendy Wisner’s newest book of poetry, The New Life, reminds us—frankly—that children can die: “It’s dangerous // to be a baby, a child / in this world,” the poem “After Newtown” says. But the book also holds those stark realities up against the miracle of the everyday, like a newborn’s soft scalp: “Glory / to the goddamn / peach fuzz on his head.” Candid and sincere, sensual and grounded, this collection is an intimate and masterful examination of marriage and parenting."


—Lisa Ampleman, author of Mom in Space

"Wendy Wisner’s The New Life is a stunning collection of poems that extends beyond the personal, touching on collective memory, the light and dark of all that women and mothers carry. These gorgeous poems lead with a deep compassion and presence, seeing the world through a mother’s eyes as she contends with the fragile impermanence around her and the complex emotions this world brings—Some December afternoons, I’m given permission / to feel happy. . .All my life I’ve been chasing /  this feeling—the temptation to fall into darkness / at every stop sign, every street corner. Wisner's poems pulse with the raw moments of new motherhood, marriage, midlife, and history while thoughtfully exploring the depths of maternal love and loss from the personal tragedy of a grandmother’s stillbirth—I think I / should Google / what happens // when you don’t talk about stillbirth—as well as to the haunting grief of 9/11 and Sandy Hook. There is so much beauty in the intensity of a woman’s empathy—not just to her own family but extending to embrace the stories of others and the world around her. Through the wisdom of Wisner’s words, this is the new life // and I can trust it not to hurt me, we find enduring strength, even through trauma and struggle, this is a poignant collection of hope and renewal, essential for all to read."


—Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Dialogues with Rising Tides (Copper Canyon Press)

Morph and Bloom was a finalist for the Robert Dana Anhinga Prize for Poetry and was published by CW Books in 2013.

Praise for Morph and Bloom:

“Wendy Wisner reminds us that a family, like the earth, has its seasons. She grafts the joys and worries of motherhood to bloom and to decay—a landscape lit at once by ‘bourbon light’ and ‘margarine winter light.’  Familial love and a devotion to the natural world braid into a gaze that alights on astonishing imagery: ‘he sleeps in goddess pose / and smells like hay.’ These poems are reflective, often searing. These poems blossom again and again into a ‘many-petaled’ splendor.'" 


—Eduardo C. Corral

‘Rescue me now’…someone is being saved, someone is being sought in Wendy Wisner’s Morph and Bloom, though it isn’t always clear who:  the mother, the sister, the grandfather, the infant. Two generations of  childhoods are layered against one another, as—in all their danger, all their physicality, all their light and dark sublimity—the early years of her mothering are shown to us. And there is absolutely no way to say it better than Wisner does—those years are spent ‘clinging to the waves of a different sea.’ ”  


—Sarah Vap

Review by Grace Cavalieri (Washington Review of Books)

Review by Kara Dorris (Lingerpost)

Review by Katherine Stutzman (Literary Mama)

Review by Tessara Dudley (Mom Egg Review)

Cover for Epicenter

Epicenter was a runner up for the CustomWords Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, the Word Works Washington Prize, and the Main Street Rag Book Award. It was published by CW Books in 2004.

Praise for Epicenter:

“Wendy Wisner’s assured first book finds at the core of family both unease and tenderness. Her best poems possess a strange interiority that makes them feel lit from within.”


—Mark Doty

“I am thrilled and moved by Wendy Wisner’s Epicenter. I want to invent new words to herald the emergence of this wonderful young poet. She is delicate, but never dainty; she is exquisitely sensitive to the nuances of feeling that constitute our inner life, but never hermetic. These poems, one after the other, take my breath away and give breath back to me. What a great gift this book is.”


—Jan Heller Levi

“It’s a compelling, confiding, sometimes awe-struck voice that speaks through these poems. A woman at moments of discovery, surprised at what she has found. These poems are tender and unwavering, erotic in the largest sense of the word — in love with the world, with pennies and record players, tablecloths, and cell-phone chargers. Lyrical, interior, grounded in the beauties and struggles of daily life, family life, Epicenter is a thrilling, heartbreaking first book of poems.”


—Donna Masini

Another Place of Rocking is a sequence of prose poems about growing up on Martha’s Vineyard with hippie-activist parents. It was a finalist for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize, the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, the University of Arkansas Poetry Series, and was a runner up for the Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition. 


Another Place of Rocking was published as a chapbook by Pudding House Press in 2010.

Read some sample poems here:

from Verse Daily

Cover for Another Place of Rocking
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