Author of Poems for the American Brother (Slipstream Press, 2020) and Mycopoetry (Finishing Line Press, 2021), Max Stephan’s poetry and prose have appeared in the North Dakota Quarterly, the Cold Mountain Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Appalachia, the Whitefish Review, the Cimarron Review, Slipstream, the Broad River Review, Blueline, the Potomac Review, Kestrel, and the Louisiana Review, among others. Recently he was the winner of the 2020 Slipstream Chapbook Contest, awarded fellowship at the Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, and noted as a finalist in several contests including the Jessie Bryce Niles Chapbook Contest (2018, 2019), the Homebound Publications Poetry Prize (2019), and the Rash Award for Poetry (2018, 2019). Stephan teaches at Niagara University, specializing in Contemporary American Poetry; runs a poetry series on campus entitled “Western New York Poets”; and hosts “Second Stage Writers” – a monthly reading in the city of Buffalo, bringing together both young and established voices.
On the academic side, for the past 20 years Stephan has been piloting the most comprehensive textual criticism of poet Mary Oliver to date (see “Research” page). The core of his research is based on genetic criticism: not "final" texts, but the reconstruction and analysis of the writing process leading toward final texts. This process includes the systematic archaeological gathering of Oliver’s work (journal publications, notes, drafts, manuscripts, typescripts, proofs, etc.); followed by the archival process of documenting and analyzing Oliver’s original journal publications as far back as the 1950’s. Stephan’s ever-growing compilation of artifacts (500+) is the largest private collection of its kind nationwide.