Steph Berger





She is also the Executive Director of THE POETRY SOCIETY OF NEW YORK and MADAME of THE POETRY BROTHEL, THE TYPEWRITER PROJECT, and THE NEW YORK CITY POETRY FESTIVAL. She is the author of IN THE MADAME’S HAT BOX (Dancing Girl Press, 2011) and translator of THE GREY BIRD: THIRTEEN EMOJI POEMS IN TRANSLATION (Coconut Books, 2014).

Stephanie’s POETRY and TRANSLATIONS have appeared in The VoltaFence, Hyperallergic, The The Poetry, Electric Pumas, Elephant Journal, Bat City Review, Poetry Crush, Similar:Peaks, Smoking Glue Gun, La Fovea, H_NGM_N, Coconut, Interim, and other publications. Her work been reviewed in THE NEW YORKER, THE GUARDIAN, THE NY OBSERVER, THE NEW YORK POST, Poets & Writers Magazine, Styleite, Refinery 29, The Diagram, DAZED DIGITAL, Bookish, and The Poetry Foundation’s Harriet blog, among hundreds of other media outlets. Other honors include a residency from The Trust for Governors Island, grants from The Casement Fund and Hagedorn Foundation, and a 2015 &NOW Writing Award. Stephanie earned a B.A. in PHILOSOPHY and CRITICAL STUDIES at the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, received an M.F.A. in POETRY from the NEW SCHOOL, and taught in the English Department at PACE UNIVERSITY.

You can read some of HER work below:

Gentlemen Prefer Bows Over Dinner

Gentlemen-Prefer-Bows-Over-Dinner-Stephanie-Berger-and-Carina-Finn1Old-time TV over Reebok, heaven over love.
After two beers their lips part; they get very lucky.
Four Martinis later, you’re homeless in America,
carrying an old-fashioned medical bag around
like your mother’s purse. This emergency is paramount,
tantamount, it is a Matterhorn, it is an emergency,
complete and full of meaning, explicitly significant
as a white flag—
Do you ever go to the Disney castle looking for smoke
stacks, a tea house? You are climbing everything
in the field outside my vision, which is the earth,
which is the target of a disaster. Love letters
over candy. Letters over love. There is no love outside
of the letter. There is a rose outside in the garden,
and I caught a falling leaf for the first time in my life.
I cut two copies of the key to my heart,
hammered light into sound, gunned down
three of my greatest opponents with a single shot.
I predicted this catastrophe, the catacombs
beneath the chapel, keyed the hammer, hammered the leaf
into forty smaller leaves. Even this endless heaven requires
an umbrella. Even this eternity retired
and hired a timekeeper. And we are on our way up
the Cyclone, the hurricane is coming. We are embarking
upon the Titanic on its third voyage across
the bottom of the sea, and we will wake up in different
hospitals, end up living in different palaces, one of us might
even camp outside for the night for the romance. The sun
also rises over ten different cities at once. You are climbing
everything in the field outside my vision
with the luck of a leaf. Stuck in seagrass, we flounder
like in the movies. At the end, after the great
disaster, we still take showers, get clean
and have our coffee, a small loaf of bread, and we eat it
with a fork and knife, gentlemen that we are.


Gathering the facts like so many

bones. They make a good tool

for telling you I am in love. With

the flint, I tear one open, climb in,

and speak: hold me close like a crucifix

above the river. I cannot cross it the way

I would my heart. In certain chambers,

the water pooled and stood. Day by day,

you recount your disillusions. You drink

from one spring & then the next. I have

remarked in women a curious ability

to embroider the facts. To get at the truth

I have been compelled to treat them as

pathological. What are her threats

but testimonies of love? That sincerity

she strewed about her as seed is

strewn and up grew a trampled flower.

Gathering the facts like so many flowers,

I just don’t like the water in the air

anymore. Stay on the ground. Let

your feet touch the bottom of the

spring, gaze longingly. These are

your instructions. It’s all you have

to do. He will love you too. You

will have a home. But I am scared

to descend. What if I hate it there?

So many birds in the air, pictures

in the rocks. It is vertiginous. Why

do they make it here, rather than

there? Because of the lichen, it is

impossible to see the footprints of

a child with the natural eye. His

life can be impenetrable because

of the footprints of his children

beneath the lichen. The sun is out &

water falls upon my head. My heart

takes leaps because of the lichen.



If you want to catch Stephanie in action as THE MADAME of the POETRY BROTHEL the next event is January 25th:



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