New Poem Up at The Dodge!

A huge praying mantis poses a bit menacingly atop a grill cover in the backyard.

I’m proud and excited to share my new poem, “Praying Mantis,” which has found the loveliest of homes at The Dodge Literary Magazine! Thank you to poetry editor Leah Kaminski for selecting and championing my work and to managing editor Jamie A. M. for their efficient, beautiful, and meticulous work on the webpage layout.

“Praying Mantis” is the first to be published of a series of poems I’ve been composing in a newly-invented experimental form (yes, there’s more where this one came from!), which my son, Matthew, has brilliantly and aptly named the “In-titled Poem.”

19 thoughts on “New Poem Up at The Dodge!

  1. Wow – love the poem! And I’m glad you explained in the afternote what “in-titled” was – now I can really appreciate the craft in this – clever and cohesive! Congrats, Stephanie – looking forward to reading more of these.

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      • Hmmm maybe a journal that prefers form (restraints)? If you had enough you could do a chapbook of them! Do you note the restraint when submitting? Are you familiar with Christian Bok’s “Eunoia” which won the Griffin prize – his work was inspired by the Oulipo group, which seeks to create works using constrained writing techniques? Good luck!😘

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    • Thank you, Cate! What kind of blows me away as I experiment more and more with this form is how emotionally charged these titles are. The form feels a lot more like possibility than constraint to me, though forms have always kind of operated to shake things loose for me in a way that too much liberty never really has. It’s like the difference between finding a conduit to lead me through the murk and being up “murk creek” sans paddle…


  2. I love this new form, and the poem is mesmerizing. Also I only just now noticed our Madison connection! If you were here in the early 90s, we might have crossed paths in Van Hise (I was a Linguistics major and German was among my languages). Smallest of worlds…

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      • I was on the 11th floor but floated a lot! I graduated in 93 and I think I took 101 before you were teaching but I came back to do my TESOL certificate from 94 to 95; in prep for a summer Goethe Institut I took something with Cora Lee Nollensdorf which might have been a continuing ed class… Long time ago!

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  3. Not sure I understand the form, but I find the poem intriguing. And I definitely identify with a “traipsing gray stain” that haunts but does not stifle – “I try” the superb response/conclusion. Bravo on the publication. Looking forward to more of these!

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    • Thank you, Jazz! I appreciate your candidness about not “getting” the form. Basically, I decided to limit myself to only those letters of the alphabet that make up the title, just to see what might shake loose and/or to force myself into devising work-arounds to compensate for what was missing. Something is *always* missing when it comes to language, and yet, it’s the only tool of expression we have at our disposal. This form, for me, heightens my awareness of the innate limitations in a way that goads me into engaging language in a different modality: I shift from thinking about what to say in my attempt to approximate my experience to recognizing from the get-go the extent to which our expression is always automatically stunted by virtue of language’s inadequacy to the task, searching deeper within an even more limited field for whatever it is that might yet remain, and discovering, to my amazement, that language, itself, is pregnant with emotional and sensory energy that it is normally beyond us to articulate. Of course, there’s more (and more often much less!) to it than that, but all in all, my experience of what began as a game/challenge based on restriction has been one of expansion and liberation…
      Ugh, I don’t suppose that diatribe helped much to explain the form… but you inspired me to try. Matthew’s apt name for it, the “In-titled Poem,” captures the form’s mechanics (that the poem is restricted to the letters in the title), as well as its attitude (that the exercise presumes one’s “entitlement” to flout language’s established conventions). 🙂

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  4. Oh, and Matthew’s wise tag also captures my initial perception of looking INward … titling one’s (current) inner leanings (singing/trying in this case)
    Thanks much for the explanation – does compute .
    Hope to see more of these soon.

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