‘Childproofing’ by Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer, 2013 Augury Poetry Finalist

Photo by Dave Bledsoe, FreeVerse Photography


Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer


My mother is reading a book

entitled The Fearful Child,

and in-between pages 57 & 58,

there is a tiny yellow sticky labeled STEPHANIE.


I am the section of the chapter subtitled

“Overactive Imagination, Underactive Reasoning.”



I am abnormal.

I have been

found out.


It is disappointing

to find that

I have not been mentioned in the forward.


Just the same,

my mother has penned me in.


The book was neatly blanketed

by A Special Issue

of Martha Stewart Living

lying underneath the nightstand

near the Better Homes and Gardens

Family Medical Guide.


One morning I found a kitchen knife

wedged between

the mattress and the box spring.


It is easier to be anthologized

than really in the dark.


I can make a doily from a tourniquet

from the queen Charisma sheets.


Somewhere there is an artist

commissioned to illustrate an erection,

trench mouth and Nasturtium;

harelips, epileptic,

Convallaria majalis,

pinworms and


an itchy anus,


accidental death;


I like to read

what my mother is reading:

fragrant, wide flowers.



Occasionally, we have company

over. They ask, “Why

do you have babies

in the basement?


It is odd—

they scratch so at the door.”


My mother kept us there

when we were little.

I turned out okay.


I let the cats out.


Our two Maine Coons

live in a room

beneath the kitchen.  The basement, Stephanie.

A finished basement.


Correction: we keep our cats in the basement.


It is frightening

to go either up or down stairs.

They are beginning to sound

human—like us.



Something in the paint

becomes a hospital;

the leaded cream


a private bone

black molding

certifies against

the mirrors

and their nook,

hanging here

before the desk,

before the desk, the Askins’ window—

no one ever writes without a chair,

I ruined it I think, watering

the Bonsai, that someone

loved me for.



If you want to watch TV

you can watch


the news: people say

Southeast Atlanta

police say: a woman


in her home;

a man:

survived: her

husband is:



on the news is:

off JimmyCarterBoulevard;

sent to Grady


He was:

in the closet

for three days:


she hadn’t vacuumed;

he raped her:

I’d’ve heard:


:what the neighbors said


in a quiet:


brought in,



Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer is originally from Atlanta, GA, and works as an artist and freelance editor in St. Louis, MO, where she co-curates the Observable Readings series. She has an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her poems have appeared AGNI (forthcoming), VerseColorado ReviewChicago ReviewCimarron Review, Fence, and Verse Daily, among others. Stephanie is a compulsive baker and also very handy with a pitchfork. “Childproofing” previously appeared in Delmar.

More From 2012 Editors’ Prize Finalist Nicholas Hite

Photo by: Dave Bledsoe of FreeVerse Poetry

His name really is Paul


you were

a courtesy,

like hotel pillowmints

from God’s right hand:

like Jesus Christ

were a beautiful Hispanic maid.


you will recall

there was a period of time

in which I was

afraid of staircases and elevators;

for six months I lived my life horizontally;

I wish that time had been now

and that it had been you instead of me.


the last time

you came home,

I hugged you

and for a moment,

I could feel the size of you.

I contained the entirety of your smallness.


Augury Introduces: Nicholas Hite is a 28-year-old attorney living in New Orleans with his vegan boyfriend, their blue-eyed dog, and a pet crawfish.

VIDA Interview: Augury Founder Kate Angus on Aesthetic Diversity

Photo by Dave Bledsoe, FreeVerse Photography

Just in time for the end of our reading period (5 days left, folks!), our own Kate Angus talks to VIDA’s Melinda Wilson about the issue of diversity and bias in the literary arts while also addressing the principles that have shaped Augury since its inception. Here’s a little teaser from the interview:

What we want more than anything is to publish more titles—the more books we can send out into the world, the greater statistical likelihood that they will reflect the multiplicity of personal experience and aesthetic range that we are interested in. —Kate Angus

Read the whole interview in VIDA’s Editor’s Corner here: http://www.vidaweb.org/editors-corner-10-kate-angus-for-augury-books

In the meantime, it is NOT TOO LATE send us your poetry manuscripts or short fiction collections on Augury’s Submissions Page. Get in under the wire before our reading period closes at 11:59 p.m., June 30, 2013.


—Augury Books

Another by Augury Finalist Nicholas Hite: "Not an oubliette but similar"

Photo by: Dave Bledsoe, FreeVerse Photography

Photo by: Dave Bledsoe, FreeVerse Photography


Not an oubliette but similar


The times the men of the family used to

go deep sea fishing in the Gulf

& the other times they went

camping on small islands in Minnesota:

the times that I grew fiercely aware of my penis

& what it was supposed to mean

between my legs there flaccid like a wet sock

but I knew from talk around campfires with cousins

that it was to one day fatten, to become a sizeable portion of me.

I learned to carry it like a promise to myself;

later, like a promise I wanted to break,

like a hard carnivorous curse demanding

the meat of other people. To break.

Trading my virginity for his on Tuesday,

2002, as if we were going to remember each other

forever. When he didn’t bleed I felt cheated

& I stopped eating meat because

to want blood, it’s too much.

Let me love someone without perforating them.

Let me be that hole that they fall into.


Augury Introduces: Nicholas Hite is a 28-year-old attorney living in New Orleans with his vegan boyfriend, their blue-eyed dog, and a pet crawfish.

DON’T FORGET: Augury’s reading period is still open for another 10 days! Find out how to submit here.

Augury Books Is on Amazon — Order Your Favorites in a Flash

Photo by Amanda Noyes

In the interest of making ordering as effortless as possible, we are happy to announce that all five of our beautiful titles are now available on Amazon. Browse below to find the links to your favorite Augury poetry books and get to clicking. More functionality to come shortly! In the meantime, we still offer other ways to order. Get details anytime on our Orders Page.

While we’re here chatting, remember that Augury Books’ reading period is open for another 15 days only. Read our guidelines and send us your manuscripts here!




Buy Mantic on Amazon!


Buy Soldier Quick with Rain on Amazon!


Buy The Book of Lost Things on Amazon!


Buy Family of Many Enzos on Amazon!


Buy To Mend Small Children on Amazon!


PHOTOS: Launch Party Loveliness

Thanks to all of you who made Augury Books’ launch party on Monday night a huge success. Here are a few highlights from the wonderful readings offered by Maureen Alsop, author of Mantic, and David Joel Friedman, author of Soldier Quick with Rain and the winner of our 2012 Editors Prize. Thanks also to Mark Connell and Botanica Bar, and our fabulous photographer, Dave Bledsoe of FreeVerse Photography. To order the new titles by Alsop and Friedman, click here.

Deadline of the Editor’s Prize Extended!

We are happy to announce that we are extending the Editor’s Prize deadline until August 15th.

-The winner will receive a $750 honorarium and publication with Augury Books as well as 20 complimentary copies of the book. Additional copies can be purchased at a discounted price.

-This contest is open to anyone, except personal friends, colleagues or former students of the editors.

-Multiple submissions are accepted as long as each manuscript is submitted individually with separate reading fees.

-All entries will be considered for publication.

Submit up 40-75 pages of poetry and an acknowledgments page. Please do not include a bio.

-Entry Fee: $20

We will accept submissions online through Submishmash at http://augurybooks.submishmash.com/Submit.

All money received will go directly towards the title and the maintenance of our catalog.

Unfortunately we will not be able to provide royalties to the winner beyond the honorarium.

We are unable to accept manuscripts from international authors at this time. Open to U.S. residents only.


We are now open for submissions again!


We are so happy to announce that we are open for submissions again for the 2012 Editors’ Prize manuscript contest. Our reading dates are May 1st–July 31st 2012.

The winner will receive a $750 honorarium and publication with Augury Books as well as 20 complimentary copies of the book. This contest is open to anyone, except personal friends, colleagues or former students of the editors.

For further guidelines, please click on the Submissions tab at the top of our webpage. As you can see, we are excited to put our reading hats on; we hope you’ll put on your submitting hats too!

To Mend Small Children by B.C. Edwards

“If you like to be spooked by poems, if you like poems to send you back into your quotidian existence with a more acute sense of its weirdness and charm, read “How to Mend Small Children” carefully. Edwards’ poems offer solutions to bizzaro problems and alchemic transmogrifications for exotic items, but their miraculous nature really lies in the way they transform the person who reads them. Prepare to visit a dimension that is weird, dark, funny and eerily similar to the one in which we live.” ~Ben Mirov

A Poem by Finalist Carrie Meadows

We might welcome these storms


were they not so like glass
broken, lingering in slivers
lodged in laundry, in the dishes, bits
tacked like proclamations
to the soles of shoes. Wads of insulation
dry in grass, and the elderly
brace their necks to look up, just
to not look down on this day-after
when shingles glide in
on blue skies, when children
drag their bicycles and rollerblades
into the streets and take deep
breaths between screams: Come
out and play. The light won’t last
beyond the sun’s setting. This day
won’t last beyond the sirens
and warning beeps of trucks
moving in reverse, only reverse
as they zigzag routes of fallen trees
to some destination out of the reaches
of their lifts, their ladders, some place
familiar and stinging like a splinter
felt but never seen.


Carrie Meadows’ poetry has appeared in North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and other publications. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband and two children.