My poem “Citizen Tree” has found a home amongst some luminous writing in Issue 21 of Whale Road Review. Thank you editor Katie Manning for selecting this piece!
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!
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!
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.
Had you been capable of opening
your eyes you’d have seen
that the obvious upside
to my unique coalescence
of scaly-headed tail caprid skull
leonine belly & three belching maws
was my reliable prescience
to forewarn of cataclysm but
you never ceased to make monstrosity
your sticking point
Even your Lycean forbears’ stories
of the diaspora— of how my children’s
fetal cells drifted from my womb endured
the eons amidst the vessel & sinew landscapes
of aliens & were ultimately delivered
to their new craggy homeland beyond
the blood-brain cordon to spawn a nation
of discrete selves as rare & fierce as their maker—
have failed it seems to inspire
Was the transgression of my seething
once upon a time beneath your collective
hunkering in the basalt’s depths
so heinous as to name me Anathema
so aberrant as to exonerate
your assassin’s sullying of Pegasus?
Though murder carapaces your shuddering
heads from my ash cloud’s descent
yet know this: your lost-wax fairytales
have no more tempered the face of who I am
than cast the specter from the dark
hell-fire you dream: that yet I am
STEPHANIE L. HARPER
Thank you to editor C. M. Tollefson and the poetry editing team at CatheXis Northwest for publishing my 3 poems, “Aubade with Smoke,” “Dilated,” and “What a Patriot Dreams.”
The latter two poems also appear in my newest chapbook, The Death’s-Head’s Testament, scheduled for release by Main Street Rag in March 2019, and available now for advance order @ $6.50 per copy.
Announcing my newest poetry chapbook:
Hello My Poetry-Loving WordPress Friends!
Here’s the scoop: Main Street Rag has opened advanced sales at $6.50 per copy for my newest poetry chapbook, The Death’s-Head’s Testament, scheduled for release in March 2019! This generous discount off of the $12.00 cover price will be offered for a limited time, so be sure to take advantage of it soon!
Thank you so much, everyone, for your engagement with and support of my work! I couldn’t have come this far without you!
Once, again, credit for this breathtaking cover photo goes to my son, Matthew Harper.
I’d like to express my gratitude to Tim Miller for hosting my quirky (some might say, “Harperesque”) poems (along with 2 collaborations with the one and only Robert Okaji!) at his fabulous blog, Underfoot Poetry (<< read them here); to editor Daniel Paul Marshall for his professionalism and the distinct pleasure it has been working with him and getting to know him and his work; and last but not least, to Robert Okaji, for his friendship, mentorship, collaboration, humor and sensitivity, and all-around beautiful, generous soul.
No muse per se whispers
infusions into my burning ear
not that it would be in my nature
to entice some demigoddess to swell
with lust hover about my head
& grace me with facility in the arts
such that I might woo hearts into believing
in my sanctity (as if I’d ever assent
to some covetous little bitch’s attempts
to trademark my own voluptuous
intellect with her dousings of silvery
moonbeams & purple pixie dust)
which isn’t to say that no one ever garners my tribute
No of course not for there’s always been a certain monsieur:
Arnos namesake of the Neoliths’ river to move to flow
mounting pulse to culminating flutter
his flux of rapture & cruelty
rising like a god in me
STEPHANIE L. HARPER
“Tribute” was published in the Fall 2017 edition of Harbinger Asylum. Thank you to editor Dustin Pickering and guest-editor Z. M. Wise for selecting this piece.