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..

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

Poem up at Dust Poetry!

Thank you to editor Tara Wheeler for selecting my poem, “Trace,” for inclusion in Dust Poetry’s gorgeous Portrait issue. I’m particularly touched by Tara’s heartfelt message of appreciation for the poetry community in her editor’s note for this issue. It means a great deal to me as a contributor to know how much the editor values the artists’ voices her publication represents. This is what it’s all about!

I’m also especially excited by the timing of this issue’s release, because it just so happens that I will be reading this poem to my husband-to-be in our (socially distanced…) marriage ceremony TOMORROW, September 25, 2020!

Poem in Slippery Elm Literary Journal

baby goat

Answer

what element of the womb’s hush     little goat
_____groomed your aptitude to bleat so     sidling
your silken haunches up to me?

the way you press your distended
_____pintsized abdomen against my knee
& butt my outstretched hand
with your horn buds     begging for the sun-
ripe shoots along the far side of the fence
_____brings me to a robust belief in need…

o     bleating babe     no     I won’t leave
you before the cricket-song’s lull is in full swing
_____though     the dusk is rushing in
to replace afternoon’s haze
& twilight’s adamant touch would usher me to the dark
of another sleep sorrowing signifiers for insufficiency
_____like the moon     engorging
on the horizon     weeps to streak the soft hills silver…

last night     I dreamed a familiar dream
of my children when they were still young
in which there was never enough time     & never enough help
to rise     & feed so many all-too-realistic demands—
_____from the toting of two pajama’d bodies to the car
to park them in a driveway four houses away     at the crux
of their convoluted breakfast ritual     to rejections
_____in equal parts irrational & resolute     of the given
dream-morning’s cereal offerings—
_____& still hope
to make it anywhere on time     or at all…

what mother doesn’t dream of baby goats?

hear their cries in her mind as melodies & answer
in harmonic bleats?

hunger for sweet greens just out of reach?

bed down in warm hay beneath the starlight
bleeding through the barn’s worm-worn roof?

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

Thank you to the SELJ Editing Team for selecting “Answer” as one of ten finalist in SELJ’s 2020 Poetry Prize and including it in the beautiful 2020 issue! I’m grateful to editor Dave Essinger for his impeccable professionalism, and for making me feel like a welcome member of the SELJ community!

Please peruse the Slippery Elm Literary Journal website, and perhaps purchase a copy of this fantastic journal to support Findlay University’s students in editing and publishing. Please also consider entering SELJ’s annual Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize, now open for submissions! 

Poem up at Panoply!

Understory

My poem, “Understory,” is now live in issue 13 of the fantabulous online journal, Panoply Literary Zine! Thank you to editors extraordinaire, Jeff, Ryn, and Andrea, for selecting this piece. I’ve begun the absolute pleasure of delving into the fresh and evocative writing contained in this issue, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’m honored to have my work appear among such impressive ranks.