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Stephen Meats, Author

Stephen Meats

Looking For The Pale Eagle, Book Cover

Looking for the Pale Eagle, 2014

Dark Dove Descending and Other Parables, Book Cover





Stephen Meats was born in LeRoy, Kansas, and raised in Concordia.  He attended Kansas State University before transferring to the University of South Carolina in 1965 where he earned his bachelor’s (1966), master’s (1968), and doctoral degree in English (1972).  He taught at the Air Force Academy and the University of Tampa before coming to Pittsburg State University in 1979.  At the University of Tampa he served as Chair of the Humanities Division (1974-1979), and at Pittsburg State as Chair of the English Department (1979-1985, 1990-2009) and as Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (1983, 2009-2011).  He retired in 2014. 

He served as poetry editor of The Midwest Quarterly for thirty-one years, beginning in 1985.  After his retirement in 2016 the editorial board established the Stephen Meats Poetry Prize to be awarded to the best poem published in the journal each year.  

He lives in Florida with his wife, Ann.

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Bibliography ( - housed in Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection)  


Mixed Genre: poems and stories

His poems and stories have appeared in numerous journals, including:

  • Kansas Quarterly
  • The Quarterly
  • Tampa Review
  • Arete: The Journal of Sport Literature
  • Hurãkan
  • Flint Hills Review
  • Prairie Poetry
  • Dos Passos Review
  • Angel Face
  • Midwest Quarterly
  • Florida Arts Gazette
  • Little Balkans Review
  • Albatross
  • Laurel Review
  • Widener Review
  • Blue Unicorn
  • The Laughing Dog

and also in the anthologies:

  • To the Stars Through Difficulties (2012) 
  • Begin Again (2011)
  • A White Voice Rides a Horse (1979)
  • Kansas Stories (1989)
  • An Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry (1985, 1986)
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Writing Samples  

My Advice

You say you want to find yourself. You’ll need
a piece of gravel. Drive any rocked road
in Kansas and you’ll hear pieces by the dozen

knocking in your wheel wells. For once, stop
and get out of the car. Take a minute to look
at the sky—flat bottomed clouds shadowing

the pastures. You’ll hear the meadowlark
on the fence post before you see him fly.
Pick up your piece of gravel. If you’re far

off the main route, a handful of chat, or even
road sand will do. Cup it in your palm while your
tires hum away the miles on the asphalt highway.

Warm it in your pocket as you drink your coffee
at the café counter in the next town, and stay
a while to look at the faces and listen to the talk.

Then take it home with you and right away
put it in your garden or your flower box or drop
it in the driveway. It doesn’t really matter.

---From The Dos Passos Review (2005)

All This Moving Apart

It’s easy to see why some find it
hard to believe. Infinity
compressed into a cube

that could rest in a teaspoon.
And then the rupture,
the unimaginable spattering

—across even more
unimaginable distances—
of galaxies and other wonders

that race away from each other
with ever increasing velocity.
But there it is.

Mathematical calculations,
say the scientists, and the latest
astrophysical observations

lead to conclusions inescapable.
It must be true. But we two
who watch white crowned sparrows

feeding along the fence row
and feel the frost under our feet
as we walk the winter field

are obliged to ask the question:
How could this unimaginable
sequence of incomprehensible events

lead at last to us?
The wind tumbles a crow
into the upper limbs of a dead elm

that has shed great sleeves
of bark to shatter on the ground.
Our hands find each other

as the crow’s clawed feet find
the naked branch thirty feet above.
It is too improbable. The mind

cannot encompass the enigma
that stretches across the vast wastes
and deserts of cosmic time

to the crow’s black claws
clasping the dead branch,
to my hand pressing into yours,

to the heat we share
clinging together in all
this cosmic moving apart.

---From Angel Face (2005)

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An interview of Stephen Meats, conducted by Hutchinson Poet William Sheldon.

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