Learning to See in Three Dimensions

In this collection of poetry, Wagner leads an exploration of the human condition by delving into the worlds of relationships, religion, nature, and mental health. In each poem – and through each intense piece of original artwork included in the book – the audience is led up to a line and dared to cross it into a new paradigm of understanding the world. In this rich, full collection, Wagner’s poetry pulls the reader into new territory through her alternating playfulness, hope, and, especially in the superb section “Poems In Which I Speak Frankly,” courage.

Advance Praise for Learning to See in Three Dimensions

“In her introductory poem, “To the Reader,” Pamela Spiro Wagner offers to us, her readers, “the sudden understanding that poetry/ may be all it takes to make a life.” These urgent words follow the reader, giving a direction to a richly rewarding immersion in the consciousness of the poet as she makes her poems, “assembling beauty from broken things.” And, throughout the volume, the essence remains, as she expresses it, “I offer what I do, what I am:this poem.” Her ‘what I do, what I am’ in its yearning toward God, the necessities of facing the deaths of those we hold dear, and other losses always maintains such attachment to all the nuances of what it means to be alive in and to this physical world. Her paintings, which illuminate the poems, work with language to create in them “the strange melody of being human.”This is an important must-read for all.”  —Mary Jane Dickerson

“In her title poem, Pamela Spiro Wagner writes: “To see straight,/you must go crooked/cross your eyes a little,//and look into the corners of the world,/ see what is hidden there.” This gripping volume bears witness to her following her own counsel. And as she says elsewhere, “life is a classroom/ where one learns to love flaws/ by throwing bad pots, to shatter/ them with careful hammer,/assembling beauty from broken things.” In one compelling poem after another, this masterful poet shows too how she has learned from that self-assigned schooling. Like the stunning illustrations Ms. Wagner provides, Learning to See in Three Dimensions demonstrates a depth of contemplation and a wrenching insight that few of her contemporaries might dream of matching.”
—Sydney Lea, Vermont Poet Laureate (2011-2015)

Pamela Spiro Wagner is an accomplished writer and an award-winning poet who also happens to have schizoaffective disorder. She graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1975. Despite her illness and having spent at least twelve years of her adult life in psychiatric units and hospitals, she has won many awards for her writing, including top prize in the BBC World Service Meridian Writings International Poetry Competition, judged by Nobelist Wole Soyinke, for her poem “The Prayers of the Mathematician,” and two Connecticut State Mental Health Media awards for articles written for the Hartford Courant. Wagner is the author of We Mad Climb Shaky Ladders, a book of poems about living with schizophrenia, published by Cavankerry Press in 2009, was a finalist for Poetry Book of the Year in Foreword Reviews. In 2005, she co-authored, with her twin sister, a psychiatrist, Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and their Journey through Schizophrenia (St. Martin’s Press, 2005), a much-acclaimed memoir about her years of illness, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and was featured in Readers Digest and People Magazine. Wagner’s writing has appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, LA Weekly and Tikkun. Wagner was born in Tacoma, Washington, lived most of her life in Connecticut, and has recently relocated to Vermont.

“Wagner’s incredible life story and experiences add a unique and rarely told perspective, especially in the form of poetry,” said Tamra Higgins, co-President of Sundog Poetry Center. “Sundog is honored to be partnering with Green Writers Press to publish this collection and share Wagner’s story through her genuinely expressive work.”

5% of all book sales will be donated to the Inclusion Center of Brattleboro.


About Sundog Poetry Center

Sundog Poetry Center is a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to promote poetry as necessary to the enrichment of our cultural lives, support poets in their work and create audiences for their poetry, and provide ways to share poetry throughout the Vermont community. Green Writers Press is pleased to partner with Sundog to bring out the best of Vermont poetry to the world. For more information on Sundog Poetry Center, visit www.sundogpoetry.org.

Pub Date: June 1, 2017
ISBN: 9780998260464
Paperback Original, 6 x 8.5
154 pages; $21.95—color reproductions of the poet’s artwork throughout.
Available through Midpoint Trade Books, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and
wherever books are sold.