new publication: woodlands anthology

The amazingly talented editor, d. ellis phelps, has done it again!
I couldn’t be more honored to be a contributor to this beautiful project with my poem (and opening piece of this anthology!),”American Beech.”

Huge American Beech Tree trunk and large roots spread out like feet.

American Beech

Let’s try, here,
in the cloud-grey
of this centuries-old beech—
stunning Bathsheba,

her toes, immense,
clinging to the path’s edge—
to be held
tightly enough;

let’s try, in this world
feathered green,
its daylight’s golden
crowns & rosy breasts,

its predawn depths
teeming with robin-songs,
to dream ourselves
being alive:

Shouldn’t we try
to wake up
high in this tree,
in tranquil forest-scent,

roll over, lean
the other cheek against her
smooth-muscled wood
& listen?

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

formidable woman sanctuary

It’s a Wrap!

After months (four to be exact) of work, sorting through and considering hundreds of submissions, sending out acceptances and declines (thank goodness for Submittable), asking for and recording permissions and adding contributors to my database, re-reading and arranging the book, creating a cover image (many thanks to Cynthia Yachtman for her art that graces the cover), sending out the proof copy, publishing the digital version here, answering hundreds of emails, re-reading and making edits and more, woodlands (Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, 2022) is finally ready!

This beautiful anthology includes the work of forty-nine writers and artists (we’ve included full-color art this time) from across the United States, Canada, and South America, most of whom are accomplished, seasoned writers.

The title poem and the concept for the book were generous gifts from Spirt Thom. His poem, 14 Ways to Stay Awake is the finale for the book…

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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.”

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.