Book of the Week: the orange balloon
Penny Harter had a reputation and extensive publishing credentials in “long poetry” before she came to haiku in the 1970s. This collection, from From Here Press (1980), gives a flavor of her earliest work.
You can read the entire book in the THF Digital Library.
All haiku in the Book of the Week Archive are selected by Tom Clausen, and are used with permission.
on the windowsill a tin can holding dirtapartment roofs— rock strata gleam in the rainon the gallery wall below the calligraphy the child's footprinta train whistle— your features shrink on the station wallout the train window the night trees darker than the skyonly letting in the cat until the morning starmountain thunder lightning between the starsin prayer the blind man covers his eyesafter the snowplow the white line againunder the old car oil puddles ripple in the winter windthe old doll her mama box broken to half a crythe dead bird's wing flutters in the wind of passing carsshaving her legs the razor nicks a mosquito biteshe smooths the uncreased pillow by her sidethe child's orange balloon stopped by the ceilingon the padlock snow melting
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We don’t often witness lyricism that expands beyond the minimalism of the form within the English-language cadre, but we are gifted in good measure with Penny Harter’s collection.
the cry of the peacock
in his pen
Alan, With Words
on the gallery wall
below the calligraphy
the child’s footprint
Wonderful poems, and wonderful way to begin this day. Thank you, Penny Harter, and all who bring these books to us every week. Ellen
Sublime. It is as tho’ Chiyo-ni has returned to us…Harter-san’s haiku are magical and profound. I am a big fan.
What a wonderful and interesting edition to the library…
Excellent, thank you!
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