Story Up at Spoonie Magazine!

Matthew, age 10, at the gymnastics 2009 Oregon state championship competition. Still wearing his high-bar grips after completing his first-place routine, he smiles for a photo.

I’m more grateful than I can express to editor Sara Watkins of Spoonie Press (home to the annual online and print publication, Spoonie Journal, and the weekly online Spoonie Magazine) for helping me share my story about raising my gorgeous, extraordinary son, Matthew: To Be the One to Say, “Yes!”

If you’ve followed my work even for a short while, you’ll be acquainted with my poetic accounts of Matthew’s autism. I had to dig deep for this longer-form prose piece. Let me know your impressions and feel free to share a link to this story with anyone out there who you believe could benefit from our experience — your engagement means the world to me!

Matthew, age 21, sits on the curb of a hotel parking lot in Indianapolis. He is cross-legged with his camera strap slung over his left shoulder, as he peers intently into a gray sky, ready for an approaching thunderstorm..

Unbecoming – by Cate Terwilliger

I’m too stunned to say anything intelligible about this earth-shattering poem. Just. Read. It.

Suddenly I find it odd that my arms terminate in hands — these firm and meaty pads, the bony fingers extruded in opposition to the outliers, these peculiar thumbs. Who designed these naked anomalies, wrinkling and weathering with the years? Where are my clever paws, their dexterous beauty, their soft and ageless fur? A […]

Unbecoming

Cento Published in The Night Heron Barks

I’m pleased to share that my poem, “(Cento) Because the world is,” is now live in the magnificent collection of visual and literary art that is the Spring 2022 issue of The Night Heron Barks. I’m grateful to editor Rogan Kelly for including my cento (a poem cobbled together from the words of other poets) among such a lineup of literary stars (please do check them out!). What an honor! 

Two Poems up at Spoonie Journal!

I unfortunately never got my hands on Matthew’s soup photos in infrared…

I’m honored and proud that my poems “Infrared” and “Terminal”* are represented among the pages of the fantastic inaugural edition of Spoonie Press Literary Journal! Please take some time to peruse the user-friendly website, and consider purchasing a copy of the gorgeous print edition.

I’m grateful to editor Sara Watkins for including my work in the scope of her visionary, inspiring, gorgeous project. Congratulations to all the contributors whose combined efforts have resulted in this truly special collection of literature and art.

Read about SPOON THEORY

*Links to accessible, text-only versions of the poems + audio recordings. 

Though it is Written

Munch's Scream journal

THOUGH IT IS WRITTEN

that grace comes only by way
of a primordial breath,
you know it to be no less
manifest for its taking of alternate routes,
as surely it finds you by the grasping-
of-a-Bic no. 2-mechanical-pencil way;

by the miraculous-
proximity-of-your-notebook-
with-Munch’s-iconic-Scream-
embossed-in-gold-on-the-cover-
to-your-waiting-for-this-morning’s-
nine-grained-slice-to-toast way;

as well as the letting-
your-hand-drag-a-wake-
of-coffee-stains-across the pages-
because-you-opt-today-
to-imbibe-your-reflux-inducing-libation-
over-not-doing-so’s-throbbing-promise-
of-a-4:00-pm-migraine way;

not to mention the way
you habitually open
the blinds to another barely-lit dawn
that grants you a glimpse of a northern flicker
scrabbling for purchase on the finch feeder
in a flapping blaze of belly, feathers
& beaked seeds flung in ceremonious
presumption of some nearby female’s interest;

or the way you finally take a breath—

which you need to take
before your face re-stones itself
in the memory of those children
who were murdered
in yesterday’s mass shooting
in a Texas elementary school*,

for how else can you still hope?—

which delivers you to the way
your twelve-year-old red heeler
recruits what measure of her brown-eyed vigilance
she can still muster to shepherd
this whole bed-headed-faux-cheetah-printed-
heartsick-kitchen-calamity of you
past the counter-top-mounds of clutter,
through a shadowed valley’s ice age
& back to the light
of a green pasture beside still water

in the beginning

when the Word was God

& the light in you was the way.

STEPHANIE L. HARPER
*Updated from the 2017 version: “yesterday’s mass shooting / in a Texas church”
“Though it is Written” first appeared in The Winnow Magazine in November 2019.

Crown of Sonnets Featured at Vox Populi

My new crown of Covid-19 sonnets, A Crown Most Unroyal, is today’s poetry feature at Vox Populi. I’m deeply grateful to Editor Michael Simms for his enthusiasm, support, and vision in brilliantly pairing my poems with Thom Hartmann’s essay on the “GOP death cult” and enhancing the “legitimacy” of our contributions to the “political discourse.” 

I wish you all safety, sanity, and every possibility for joy as we continue to plod through… 

What Autistic Advocacy Really Means

I’m veering from the beaten path of poetry today to share Ira’s phenomenally informative and vital post about autism advocacy.

Autistic Science Person

TW – ableism, eugenics, “treatments”, torture, Judge Rotenberg Center, Spectrum 10K

You may have recently heard about the Spectrum 10K study and have seen autistic people’s, and non-autistic people’s, concerns about the study.Though I have plenty to say regarding this study, that’s not what I want to talk about right now.

What I want to talk about is the lasting effects that occur when autistic people are used as a commodity, a political football, a theoretical argument, as exploitation, when autistic people have to witness the dehumanization and legal torture of autistic people.

A study like Spectrum 10K brings out non-autistic people – parents of autistic people, teachers of autistic students, and many disability-adjacent “professionals” – who genuinely think it would be better if they aborted autistic fetuses in the future so that they didn’t “suffer.”

Although these interactions are upsetting, the worst part is when being autistic is used…

View original post 1,624 more words

Two Poems up at Cathexis Northwest Press

citizen-tree

My poems, “Missive (to the White Oak’s Depths)” and “Elegy for My Former Self,” are live in the July 2021 issue of Cathexis Northwest Press. Heartfelt thanks to editor C. M. Tollefson for selecting these pieces. 

Please also enjoy the audio renditions of these poems, courtesy of—your favorite poet and mine—the one and only Robert Okaji!

Elegy for My Former Self.jpg!d