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New Work from Steven Harvey

with Comments by the Author and Links to Works.

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News from Great River Review


Three lyric essays by Steven Harvey appear in the newest edition of Great River Review. The first piece, called “Oakleaf Hydrangea” begins this way:


"The oakleaf hydrangea winking at me over the top of my book carves a saucy shape in the mind standing boldly as itself between me and the rest of the world, hands on hips as it were, the woody bush a swirl like the vessel of water it is named for..."

Learn more here.

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The Beloved Republic Review

Thanks to Tarn Wilson for her review of The Beloved Republic at the  River Teeth website. She writes: “In his titular essay 'The Beloved Republic,' Harvey makes this heartening promise to those who feel worried and wearied, helpless in the face of 'war and tyranny,' that by devoting ourselves to lives of steady kindness, creativity, and friendship we are joining an invisible, benevolent army.” Read the full review here.

Hunger Mountain

Thanks to Hunger Mountain for publishing “Aubade,” my exploration of perception in a prose ode. It begins with this epigraph from the artist Paul Cézanne: “The landscape thinks itself in me and I am its consciousness.” 


You can read the entire brief piece here.

Thanks to Phoebe magazine for publishing my prose ode called "Rounding Out the Morning." It is in conversation with Joy Harjo's "Eagle Poem," in particular, these familiar lines

Like eagle rounding out the morning/

Inside us./ We pray that it will be done/

In beauty./ In beauty.—Joy Harjo


My piece begins this way:

I’ve never seen an eagle rounding out the morning inside me, but I have been surprised by broad-winged hawks bursting overhead at dawn from the woods behind my house, their tandem arcs inscribing half circles on the sky before dipping below the tree line, the “true circle of motion” completed


somewhere beyond my sight...


Thanks to Solstice for publishing my piece "Two Eternities" in the Winter 2022 issue. It is one of my prose odes, a form that uses enjambment to create lines of poetry out of prose. This one is a tribute to the Polish writer Anna Swir whose poems have been translated into English by Czesław Miłosz and Leonard Nathan in Talking to My Body. It begins:

I lift the latch, but pause and let it down. Holding a bucket of plastic sand toys, two beach chairs, and an umbrella, I stand in flip-flops, sweaty, laden, looking out on the ocean and a pearly sky.


Okay, maybe there is comfort in not being born...

Preorder The Beloved Republic

I am pleased to announce that my fourth collection of personal essays called The Beloved Republic is available now for preorder at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It won the Wandering Aengus Press nonfiction award and will be published in January 2023 when it will be available in bookstores and websites. Thanks to the Press for this honor.

What is the Beloved Republic? E. M. Forster, who coined the phrase, called it “an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky” who “have the power to endure” and “can take a joke.” Pitted against authoritarianism, the Beloved Republic is the peaceful and fragile confederacy of kind, benevolent, and creative people in a world of tyrants, thugs, and loud-mouthed bullies. Taking Forster’s phrase for its title, my book can be read as dispatches from that besieged land.


Wandering Aengus Press

2022 Reading Series

Come to the on-line reading sponsored by Wandering Aengus Press! I will read at the first event at 7:00 pm EDT on Thursday, March 24, along with Christopher Martin and Michael Schmeltzer. It should take less than an hour. Learn how to access the reading and about the three other readings that the press will sponsor here.

“The White Space”

Zone 3 magazine has published my lyrical prose ode called "The White Space" about the inevitability of loss. It draws on a translation of a truncated lyric of Sappho by Anne Carson that was later shown to be incorrect when the complete manuscript was discovered. The piece begins this way:

"Deer surprised me this morning, eating ivy below the window. It’s early spring and snow melts in the mist leaving dark patches of leafy green for them to pick through. Knock-kneed fawns nibble at the broad leaves, ears like wimples, while the doe, bending graciously from the neck, turns onyx eyes on me..."

Part essay, part poem, and part conversation with the poetry of Turkish poet Bejan Matur, "Absolute Dark" is a warning against the dangers of creeping authoritarianism. It begins:


"During my walks in the park on sunny afternoons, I’ve been thinking about absolute dark, the way you never see it. A photon or two always slips past the hood they throw over your head or eigengrau bathes the blindfold in owl-light..."

You can learn more about it and Water~Stone Review here.

“Lyric Memory: The Mnemonics of Nonfiction” in Assay

Thanks to Assay for publishing my essay called called “Lyric Memory: The Mnemonics of Nonfiction.” It discusses ways to recover writable memories from events you barely remember or can't remember at all. It includes prompts for writers as well. Check it out here.

brief essay

Eastern Iowa Review has published a brief essay, named "Folly Beach." not to be confused with my book-length essay by that name. It is for the edition on water. You can read it here.

"The Book of Knowledge" in River Teeth 20 Anthology


I'm pleased to announce that my essay, "The Book of Knowledge," is reprinted in the the anthology River Teeth: 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction. The anthology is a celebration of two decades of superb editing of Joe Mackall and Daniel W. Lehman.


My essay, which became the basis for my memoir The Book of Knowledge and Wonder, was also chosen for Best American Essays 2013. It first appeared in River Teeth in Spring 2012 and remains the best introduction to my work.


I am grateful to the editors, Joe Mackall and Dan Lehman, for their support of my writing over the years.

photo madre luz Ryan Patterson, Baltimor

"Madre Luz": Notable in Best American Essays 2019


My essay "Madre Luz" has been recognized as one of the notable essays of 2019 by The Best American Essays series. It contrasts the Nazi rally in Charlottesville with the stunning statue of Madre Luz that replaced the Lee-Jackson statue in Baltimore and becomes a plea for courageous non-violence in the face of violence, hatred, and racism.  Thanks to Another Chicago Magazine for publishing it.  You can read it here.


Solstice Publishes  “The Arc of the Moral Universe”

I am excited that Solstice magazine published my essay “The Arc of the Moral Universe” as the editor's pick in nonfiction for the fall 2019 issue. “Is justice a ‘river of God that is full of blessing' or a bright-eyed goddess ‘lying prostrate on the streets’? Is morality hidden in the inner workings of a universe whose laws are beyond our understanding or power to change?  Or, does that impute an agency to history that doesn’t exist?” These are the questions I explore in the piece. You can read it here.


The Humble Essayist's Paragraph of the Week: 
A Discipline of the Heart and Mind

Assay magazine gave me a chance to explore what writing the Paragraph of the Week commentaries for The Humble Essayist has taught me.  I found that the two-paragraph format is not a rote exercise but a scalpel to slice deep into a literary work exposing its hidden heart, and anyone, students or experienced writers, can learn about the secret life of prose by giving it a try.  Read the essay here.


“Autumn Hours” at Fourth Genre


Fourth Genre has published my essay “Autumn Hours” in the Fall 2019 edition. The essay explores the idea, taken from Horace, that “nothing can steal away that hour's happiness that came and went yet glows within the mind.” In it I explore memories that are happy—completely unadulterated by sorrow or regret—against the backdrop of the death of a friend.


Is Horace right? It does matter. You can find the issue of Fourth Genre here.

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“The Wordless Woods” at Brevity

I am pleased that Brevity magazine has chosen to feature my essay “The Wordless Woods” in its new September edition. Thanks to Dinty Moore and his staff for accepting it. It begins--

Foraging along the woods’ edge, the doe looks up from the hydrangea she is nibbling and twitches an ear—a salute, I think, stopping the car, though it isn’t a salute...

You can read the entire essay here.

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Video Essay: One Boy's Luminous Skin


I have created a video essay called "One Boy's Luminous Skin" about gun violence and children that is less than four minutes long. It contains no images of children, guns, or violence of any kind, but I think it speaks to our current, desperate situation. You can find it on YouTube here:

Please view it and share. The video is based on an essay that originally appeared in American Literary Review. You you can find the link to the written version below.

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"One Boy's Luminous Skin" at American Literary Review

In my brief essay, "One Boy's Luminous Skin" chosen for the new issue of the American Literary Review.  It begins this way:

"It is butter. The sun’s pillow. The moon’s snow. His eyes with large brown irises are a woodsy invitation to a boy’s life. They glitter with a hint of mischief too, but I’m talking about skin. 

One boy’s luminous skin..."

You can read the full essay here.  See the video here.

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"Pipsissewa" at Coal Hill Review

I am excited that Coal Hill Review has published my essay "Pipsissewa."   In it I respond to a passage by John Muir from A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf after a walk along the Muir trail  with friends and come to understand what Muir meant when he wrote “in the multitude” of sounds along the Hiwassee River the “wilderness finds a voice.”  The essay is very short and you can read it in full here.

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"The Other Steve Harvey" at Best American Essays

My essay "The Other Steve Harvey," selected for The Best American Essays 2018, is about unconscious bias. It is built around President Obama's speech about Trayvon Martin—one of the most moving moments in Obama's presidency, I think.  I am honored that it was selected by The New Yorker writer and film critic Hilton Als and to be in the company of writers I admire such as Leslie Jamison, Suki Kim, and Baron Wormser.  Thanks to Michigan Quarterly Review for first publishing the essay.  You can get The Best American Essays at most book stores and can order it online.

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photo madre luz Ryan Patterson, Baltimor

"Madre Luz" in Another Chicago Magazine


My essay "Madre Luz" contrasts the Nazi rally in Charlottesville with the stunning statue of Madre Luz that replaced the Lee-Jackson statue in Baltimore and becomes a plea for courageous non-violence in the face of violence, hatred, and racism.  Thanks to Another Chicago Magazine for publishing it.  You can read it here.

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"Sputnik 2" at Assay


Here's a bit of serendipity!  Sonja Livingston's student Valerie Dinavo chose my essay "Sputnik 2" to be read aloud in class, another student Madeline Barber doodled (expertly) while it was being read, Sonja posted her picture on Facebook or Twitter—I can't remember which now—and wrote about it.  She and I concocted a plan for me to write a response, and Renée D'Aoust at Assay agreed to publish it all!  It does take a village!  Check out the result here.

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“Another Way” in Water-Stone Review

The Tao is the way that cannot be named, becoming some other way the moment we begin to understand it in human terms.  I'm excited that Water-Stone Review published “Another Way,” the last part of my trilogy, The Broken Cup,  a tribute to Taoism.  The Broken Cup is a lyric essay about the acceptance of life as it is, a letting go that opens new possibilities for discovery and love.  Learn more here.

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Who is “The Beloved Republic?”


You are, dear readers.  E. M. Forster called it "an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky" that resists authoritarian leaders. Read about this invincible, yet not victorious army of writers, readers, artists, intellectuals, and scientists in my essay "The Beloved Republic"  published in the Summer 2017 issue of The Antioch Review

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