Poetry Fridays: Festival Poet Penny Harter

Posted on by Dodge

Stacey Balkun, Festival Assistant

HarterPhotoMeasured and contemplative, Penny Harter’s poetry recognizes nature both in subject and in form.  The imagery within her poems ranges from mourning doves on a windowsill to abandoned gas stations lining the highways of New Jersey.   Harter’s poem “Driving Through the New Jersey Dusk” is a haibun—a form combining prose with haiku.  Harter uses an arrangement of prose and haiku to describe not only the scenery alongside a highway but also the psychology of driving, the voyage through one’s memories while traveling across the landscape.

In an interview on Blogging Along Tobacco Road, Harter says that the act of writing poetry “is, first and foremost, an act of seeing, followed by connecting,” as suggested by her calm and observant poetry.  The speaker in Harter’s poems often offers an image and then connects it to a universal truth, such as in “The Night Sky” from Harter’s book Lizard Light.

Harter has received several fellowships in poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, as well as a fellowship for teaching from the Dodge Foundation.  In addition to these fellowships, she has received the Mary Carolyn Davies Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and the William O. Douglas Nature Writing Award, among others. Her work has appeared in many magazines, including Contemporary American Voices and Umbrella.

Poems from Harter’s forthcoming book, Recycling Starlight, can be found in the Summer 2009 issue of Umbrella. To read her award-winning haiku, “Evening Rain,” please visit The Heron’s Nest.

Please use the “Share your thoughts with us” box below to share other resources you may have found for this poet. In this way, we can build together a mini-wiki-encyclopedia on the 2010 Festival Poets.

Return in the weeks ahead as we continue to profile the 2010 Festival Poets.

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