Jan Wagner’s poems have an insatiable effect on the reader: they create a desire for more of these unfathomably clear images, epiphanies and insights – and now, a new volume of ever- surprising, distinctively Wagneresque poems will be published.
The butterflies that Jan Wagner pulls out of the net in his new volume of poetry, and sets free in a series of looping turns, might be crows from Munich, bloodthirsty martens, a Montana biker or aging captains. The factor they all have in common is that they can fly. No matter what subject or object, whatever creature Jan Wagner captures and poetically transforms, he abolishes the laws of gravity. Even the walled-in Forbidden City floats up, stone by stone, and our perception, our thinking, sheds its inertia with every verse. With each new volume he writes, Jan Wagner gains more poise; his virtuosity of form shows through in the The Live Butterfly Show as a carefree desire for freedom of form and tone, making it a great read.