D.R. Wagner death, Author & Poet from Sacramento, CA passed away after a brief illness

D.R. Wagner has passed away. (Source: Facebook)
Author D.R. Wagner cause of death. (Source: Facebook)


In the heart of Sacramento, California, a profound loss has befallen the artistic community with the passing of D. R. Wagner, a remarkable author, poet, and friend. Wagner’s departure on the solstice, the shortest day of the year, seems a poetic farewell befitting a man whose life was dedicated to the art of words.

In this article, we reflect on the legacy of the poet D.R. Wagner and his cause of death in detail.

D.R. Wagner passed away

Renowned author Dave Boles has shared the profoundly sorrowful news of the passing of D. R. Wagner. In a poignant and heartfelt announcement, Boles has conveyed the heartbreaking loss that has left the literary and artistic communities in deep mourning.

D. R. Wagner, known for his inspiring words and profound impact on the Sacramento artistic scene, has bid farewell to this world, leaving behind a void that will be felt by many.

D.R. Wagner Cause of Death

D.R. Wagner’s health took a sudden and severe turn last Sunday when he was rushed to Sutter General in critical condition. A later diagnosis revealed the harrowing reality that he had been suffering from meningoencephalitis, a condition that strikes at the very core of neurological health. The meninges, delicate layers of tissue enveloping the brain, had become infected, leading to a diagnosis of meningitis. Simultaneously, the inflammation or infection had extended to the brain itself, a condition known as encephalitis.

In Wagner’s case, both the meninges and the brain were affected, culminating in the devastating diagnosis of meningoencephalitis. This condition is inherently grave, signifying a serious threat to neurological well-being. Meningoencephalitis demands immediate and intensive medical attention due to the potential for severe complications arising from the infection of vital brain tissues.

Despite the tireless efforts of medical professionals at Sutter General, the relentless nature of the disease prevailed, ultimately leading to D.R. Wagner’s passing.

Who was D.R. Wagner?

D.R. Wagner, an accomplished author, poet, and multidisciplinary artist, boasts a prolific career spanning over five decades. With a literary repertoire comprising more than twenty books and chapbooks of poetry and letters, Wagner established his imprint, press: today: niagara, in Niagara Falls, NY, in 1965.

Subsequently, in the late 1960s, he founded Runcible Spoon (press), contributing to the literary landscape by producing over fifty magazines and chapbooks. In the vibrant countercultural scene of the late 1960s, Wagner collaborated with d.a. levy, co-authoring “The Egyptian Stroboscope.”

Notably, his presence graced a legendary reading at Sacramento State College in 1969, where he shared the stage with iconic figures like Jim Morrison of the Doors and Michael McClure. Wagner’s poetic journey also intersected with luminaries such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Al Winans, Viola Weinberg, E.R. Baxter III, Ed Sanders, and Anne Waldman over the course of four decades.

The Multifaceted Legacy of D.R. Wagner

Beyond his literary endeavors, Wagner’s artistic versatility extended to visual poetry, exhibiting alongside renowned figures like William Burroughs, Byron Gysin, and others in prestigious venues globally, from the Louvre in Paris to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. His miniature needle-made tapestries, showcased internationally and featured in publications and museums, attest to his prowess as a visual artist.

As a professional musician, Wagner seamlessly blended his roles as a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, showcasing his talents on guitar and keyboards. Adding an academic dimension to his multifaceted career, he taught design at the University of California, Davis, from 1988 until his retirement in 2015. In the honors programs, he conducted innovative classes such as “Poetry by Design.”

Wagner’s literary legacy encompasses a diverse range of works, including “97 Poems” (2012), “Remembering Eternity” (2014), “Love Poems” (2016), “Storm Footed – 101 Collected Poems” (2017), and “The Order Of Events” (2018), all published by Cold River Press. With his rich tapestry of creative pursuits, D.R. Wagner’s influence resonates not only in the written word but also in the realms of visual art, music, and education, leaving an indelible mark on the cultural landscape.


A wave of heartfelt condolences has inundated Facebook, as numerous individuals from diverse walks of life come together to express their sympathy and sorrow over the passing of D.R. Wagner.

Artist Marco Fuoco wrote: D.R. Wagner was an amazing, inspirational artist, teacher and friend to many, the Sacramento artistic community was Blessed with his spirit. His passing on the solstice is quite fitting for a poet, he left on the shortest day. In 1979 he was my neighbor down the street. He influenced my performance art and was my friend. His wry smile is left on the valley’s landscape in poetry, art and memories of all that new and loved him.”

Virginia Giles wrote: “I am so very sad to hear about D.R. Wagner. I can’t help but to hope for a miracle. The world needs his kindness and spirit. All of my love to you friend.”

In the wake of this heartbreaking news, the artistic world stands united in remembering and honoring the legacy of D. R. Wagner. As we collectively mourn the passing of this exceptional soul, it is a moment to reflect on the impact he has had, the inspiration he has provided, and the indelible mark he leaves on the canvas of literature and art.


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