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About Angelica Wisenbarger

Yeah, my last name's actually Wisenbarger. A telemarketer once violently reconstituted my name--Wosebagger's how it came out. I relayed it to some friends, some of whom were kind enough to keep calling me that. 

I grew up (if I did at all) in Guernsey county Ohio, in the nowheres abutting the city of Cambridge. Until I was about 7 my family (I am the only child--however, I am several people) lived in a trailer beside my grandparents' house, then moved just down the hill. The general environment was one of classic cars, horses, wild black raspberries, daydreams and solitude. I played in the junkyards that straddled the back fields, watched my dad run his body shop, drag race, and restore many an old specimen. I hung out in the woods. I read and drew constantly.

After high school I couldn't figure out what to do. I got into the San Francisco Art Institute and rejected it out of cowardice in favor of nearby Denison University, where I figured I'd get a more 'sensible' degree. Well, that didn't work out--I studied classics there.

Having renounced my first opportunity to get the hell out, I spent much of my late teens and early twenties trying to figure out how to get as far away from Ohio as possible. The motto of our small town middle school had been, after all, "If you get your start here, you can go anywhere." John Glenn, after whom that school was named, had got pretty far away indeed. He went to space.

Studying ancient Greek and Latin literature was a weird choice I made for weird reasons, but I followed it to its conclusion. I did this for 12 years, getting my MPhil at Cambridge (yeah, the England one; Queens' college) and eventually defending my dissertation at the University of Cincinnati (you see, I failed to get out of Ohio) in October of 2021. So it's Dr Wosebagger. The only wound I can heal is ignorance of the ablative case. Not to say this background doesn't have its influence. Study of palaeography left me with an appreciation of medieval manuscripts on parchment/vellum and the illuminations of fine books of hours and other richly illustrated stuff. The merger of the high and low, prose & verse, sublimity & bathos in Menippean satire--or what we think we know of it--is fundamental to my fiction. But that's for another issue entirely.

While I was at Denison E. "S." Griffith became very important to me, and introduced me to birds I'd never bothered to know about. I was charmed, but I sat on this for years. In about 2019 I painted him a grouse, then a woodcock ... you see where this is going. I did not want to stop. On one hand, I simply enjoyed painting things for him. On the other, the birds themselves were a joy to paint and learn about, with fantastic textures and visual appeal. And they came with such an interesting cross-section of other enthusiasts. 

Once I started up an instagram, it became pretty clear that the people who love the birds love art involving the birds. It tickles me afresh to this day when people express an interest in owning my art. I no longer have prints made--the gold in my current style makes that a tough proposition. I also refuse to ship my work, except under extreme circumstances (for instance, you live somewhere Worse than Cincinnati and are able to pay the wild cost for fine art shipping). I deliver stuff myself. It's a good excuse to get out of Cincinnati, and I'm less likely to damage a piece than someone who doesn't care.

I have illustrated an article in Project Upland, contributed to Denison Magazine, been the featured artist in Ruffed Grouse Society's magazine Covers, and have just begun to seek an agent for my novel, Smoking. I digitize stuff for the John Miller Burnam Classics Library, and I teach Ancient Greek and Latin at UC.

My currently unraveling writing projects are: 

Diogenesis, a modern menippean satire about the youth of Diogenes

Comeuppance, a fictionalization of the life of my great-great grandmother, Anna Shapiro, who emigrated from Vinnytsia in the wake of the Russian Revolution 

Searchlight, a poetry compilation concerning that "great composer" otherwise known as the 37th President of the United States

Georgics, yet another translation of Vergil's best poem

I have a mystical, terrible, moony-eyed, complicated fascination, or whatever you want to call it, with Richard Nixon. Through various coincidences, he's flickered in and out of my life and become something of a permanent shadow in my mind. I've been hit with sprinklers at Rose Hills Mortuary in Whittier visiting his brother Arthur. Drove across the country from Cincinnati to the Nixon Library & Museum to deliver a painting inspired by his life. On another occasion I visited that library (mercifully by plane) to read his French literature notes & youthful musings on the mind/body problem, and to look at what remained, textual and otherwise, of Arthur Nixon--a presence of sorts in my novel Smoking. My interest in Richard Nixon is somehow in no sense political. Purely personal and aesthetic. If one figure best embodies the American 20th century in its entirety, its tragedies and progress and complications, it's that man. There is a retrospective beauty in his life, a better piece of literature in its composition and style than anything a Tolstoy could contrive. People will never stop writing about him--with his contradictions, his daydreams, his gumption in sickening quantities, he left too much behind to make sense of. I see many aspects of my own personality in his, or what I can grasp of it through the accounts that remain, at a historian's distance. As I said, a complicated fascination. 

This seems to exhaust relevant surface-level information about me. If you want to know anything else, you can write me an e-mail or a letter. Thanks for stopping by!

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Who's Angelica?: Bio

This world resists orthogony, but chaos fractures
into little orders too: like clowns of Plautine comedy
we actors, blind to irony, see a mad plot through.

Who's Angelica?: Image
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