Q&A with Poet Stephanie L. Harper (Part 2)

Thank you, Sir Robert, for your generosity and insightfulness in this interview, and for everything you do in general to promote a sense of authentic connectedness that’s so vital to poetry and Poetkind!

O at the Edges

I’m pleased to present part 2 of the Q&A with poet Stephanie L. Harper:

If you were a poetic form, which would you be?

I would be a poetic form that could seep down into darkness, molecule by molecule, through miles of porous rock, to return to the wellspring, then rise again to the surface, and wash over the grief-stricken with the all immensity of love and joy in my depths. I’m pretty sure that would make me an elegy.

What themes or traits will readers find in your work? What will they not find?

My work is chock full of mythological creatures, archetypal symbolism, and nature imagery (i.e., birds, seascapes, wolves, forests, volcanoes). It touches often on spirituality (and/or religiosity), sometimes alludes to current events (and associated dismay), and has an overall feminist and philosophical bent. My love for and awe of my children shows up a lot, too…

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Q&A with Poet Stephanie L. Harper (Part 1)

Thanks for this terrific honor, Bob!

O at the Edges

I’m pleased to offer this Q&A with poet Stephanie L. Harper:

You have a chapbook, This Being Done, coming out soon. Can you tell us something about it? From where did the title come?

 Yes, I’m thrilled that this debut of my work in book form is making its way into the world. The title, This Being Done, is an excerpt from my poem, “An Elegy for Birds & Bees,” which, the more I think about it, the more I believe is the crux of the collection. The poem came to me when I was profoundly depressed and drifting—feeling as if my childbearing days being behind me was somehow synonymous with not having (and not deserving to have) an identity or purpose for my own sake. The poem’s opening lines, “over & over in habitual drone /i repeat a phrase in my mind that no one knows i say…

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‘Twas feckish, and the irkly grobes
Did fark and fistle in the slade;
All dingly were the rectiprobes
And the dampnuts updrade.

“Beware the Trumplewock, my friend!
The bigly mouth, those puny mitts!
Beware the Tweet bird, and off-fend
The cronious Perkletits!”

She packed her poisal voice and went:
Fat chance the vapid imp she’d spare—
So quivered he ‘neath his Cheeto tree,
And feebly cried, “Unfair!”

And, as the greelish light grew pale,
The Trumplewock, with wits of wood,
Came grabbling through the femly vale
Because he thought he could!

Eins, zwei! Eins, zwei! And quick as pie
The poisal voice sliced fierce and true:
“Go flay yourself, you mawkish elf,
And burn the residue!”

The Trumplewock would rue the day
He left his diddlepot of lack.
The frankish words would haunt him ‘til
He went galumphing back.

‘Twas feckish, and the irkly grobes
Did fark and fistle in the slade;
All dingly were the rectiprobes
And the dampnuts updrade.


“Trumplewocky” first appeared on this blog in February 2017. It was inspired by the monstrous farce (still!!!) inhabiting the White House, and Lewis Carroll’s timeless masterpiece, JABBERWOCKY.

Last Day of Pre-Publication Sales for Robert Okaji’s Chapbook

Don’t get left in the cold as Robert Okaji’s wondrous poetry takes the literary world by storm! 🌩 Let’s celebrate the difference that Bob’s vital words have made in so many lives, and take today’s last opportunity to make a difference for him! 😊

O at the Edges

From Every Moment a Second

Today is the final day of the pre-publication sales period for my new chapbook, From Every Moment a Second. If you intended to order a copy but haven’t yet (the dog ate your homework, you had to wash your hair, poetry? you’re kidding, right?), time’s running out. Order here.

Many, many thanks to the members of this blog community for supporting my writing.  I am truly grateful for your wisdom, advice, humor and willingness to help me traverse the strange and wonderful worlds of poetry and publication.

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I decided to post this “Challenge” (also located on my About/Challenges page) as a single blog entry on my Home page, since I am quite pleased with how it all turned out. The quotations are from among my favorite literary influences (one representative each from poetry, fiction, and non-fiction), and the artwork is my own. Enjoy!  🙂


4yearoldadult has very graciously taken it upon himself to give me a much needed swift kick in the pants, to get myself into the habit of “blogging” more regularly.  I know that this medicine will be good for me, so I thank him from the bottom of my heart for his encouragement and enthusiasm, and for his efforts to connect with people through cyber-space, to make the world a little bit better!

Day 3: From Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

When a woman pretends to press her life down into a nice, tidy little package, all she accomplishes is spring-loading all her vital energy down into shadow. ‘Fine. I’m fine,’ such a woman says… Then one day, we hear she has taken up with a piccolo player and has run off to Tippicanoe to be a pool hall queen…

This is about how it happens.
One day, we decide that we are DONE being everything but who we are.  Unfortunately, we usually have to learn the hard way that we are really not all that into piccolo players…  We owe it to ourselves to remember who we are and what we do want to be doing, and then we have to start doing it, at all costs — because the alternative, which is existential death, is a far, far cry from a substitute for life.

The Hole

Day 2:  Excerpt from Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy

Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe.  The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria.  During a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem “Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning” four of his audience died of internal hemorrhaging, and the President of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off.  Grunthos is reported to have been “disappointed” by the poem’s reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve-book epic My Favorite Bathtime Gurgles when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilization, leaped straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.
The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex, England, in the destruction of the planet Earth.

I very much share the view with the late, great Douglas Adams that there are some very particular offenses that one can perpetrate on the universal device of communication/language, which without exception, result in the phenomenon known as bad poetry…  For instance, I am sure that some of my renderings from my early high school days could have competed handily with the ignominious works of the Azgoths of Kria — and just for the record (in case anyone is taking notes), they have all been dispatched in flame…


Day 1: “On Pain”
               From Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet

   Your pain is the breaking of the shell
that encloses your understanding.
   Even as the stone of the fruit must break,
that its heart may stand in the sun, so must
you know pain.
   And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily
miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous
than your joy;
   And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your

   And you would watch with serenity through the winters
of your grief.

  • ••

   Much of your pain is self-chosen.
   It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you
heals your sick self.
   Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence
and tranquility:
   For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the
tender hand of the Unseen,
   And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been
fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with
His own sacred tears.

Kahlil Gibran has been and continues to be one of my favorite literary influences. If he had been our contemporary, today’s theorists in psychology might have made him the poster child for the “Highly Sensitive” personality type.  To me, he is a timeless and ageless genius, whose wise insights into both the seen and the Unseen have enriched my development as a writer, artist, and “Highly Sensitive” human being.  I can’t imagine anyone could read his works, particularly The Prophet, and not come away with something life-changing, every time.

Dreams Depths