James Wagner

Publisher and Professor

James P. Wagner (Ishwa) first walked into a poetry reading at age 17 and hasn’t looked back since. At Dowling College he earned his BA and his MALS and has frequently been back to guest lecture. While there, he was heavily involved in their Spoken Word poetry club, founded “The Conspiracy,” the college’s genre fiction journal, and helped form the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance.)

Also while at Dowling, James founded (by accident) Local Gems Press which has since become the unofficial publisher of Long Island poetry—handling yearly publications such as Bards Annual, The Nassau County Poet Laureate Society Review, The Suffolk County Poetry Review, Freshet for Fresh Meadow Poets (Queens) and recently published the Long Island Quarterly 25th Anniversary edition. Local Gems has also published over 50 titles by individual authors, over 20 anthologies, and has gained a national and international audience of poets and poetry fans.

He is one of the editors of the Perspectives series—poetry concerning autism and other disabilities which went on to become best-sellers. His own poetry including his flagship autism poem “His Disability” has appeared at the Naturally Autistic Conference in Vancouver and in Naturally Autistic Magazine. His essays and works on autism and autistic culture having appeared in Naturally Autistic Magazine which is distributed all over western Canada. He spent 2 years as a radio host for Naturally Autistic ANCA on the show “Human Potential.”

James’s science fiction and fantasy stories have appeared in more than 30 fiction publications and journals including Mobius, Golden Visions, MBrane Science Fiction, Paradigm Shift amongst others. He is also an essayist, and has had essays published in various publications on topics such as autism, martial arts, history and sociology.

He has had a very long but very unorthodox relationship with the martial arts and is currently a Tai Chi/Bagua practitioner. His online historical series about Benjamin Franklin has been used in high school classrooms and he is currently working on a book titled "Business Lessons from Benjamin Franklin."

His performance poetry takes some help from his time in musical theater. James has appeared in such plays as Fiddler on the Roof, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Kiss me Kate, The Fantastiks, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Little Shop of Horrors and others.

  James is a proud graduate of Northport High School, and has lived in the Northport area his entire life. When not writing he enjoys laser tag, poker, cooking, documentaries, drumming, playing piano, drawing, painting, goofing around with Legos and performing.

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