Stephen Roger Powers was born in Madison, Wisconsin. Several summer trips to Arizona and Tennessee during his childhood planted in him the early seeds of wanderlust before his first trip abroad to Germany with his high school German club in 1990 solidified his love of language and of always searching for a new place to call a home away from home.
At the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and German, with a minor in French. Even today Stephen considers himself a polyglot—he listens to German and French podcasts daily, and continues his informal study of Japanese and Spanish.
While working on his PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Stephen spent his weekends at clubs and casinos around the Midwest honing a stand-up comedy act about his hearing impairment. In 2007 Stephen gave up stand-up comedy to move to Georgia, where he is now Professor of English at Gordon State College in Barnesville. His stand-up experiences served as first-hand research for a novel he is currently completing about a hearing-impaired stand-up comic struggling to break into headlining. While working as a stand-up comic, Stephen would often spend his nights after coming off stage writing poetry because he was too energized to sleep.
Stephen has published three book-length collections of his poems with Salmon Poetry in Ireland. The Follower’s Tale, inspired by Stephen’s frequent road trips to Dollywood to see Dolly Parton perform benefit concerts for the Dollywood Foundation, was published in 2009, and a 10th anniversary edition came out in 2019. Hello, Stephen, his second poetry collection, was published in 2014, and his third, All Seats Fifty Cents, was published in March 2019. A collection of short stories, Highway Speed, is forthcoming from Closet Skeleton Press in October 2019.
Stephen lives near Atlanta with his wife and black Pomeranian. He continues to spend several weeks a year on the road and in the air. If you look closely in the right place you can see him as an extra in Joyful Noise with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Author painting by John Strickland. Gratefully used with permission.