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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 dirt
apartment roofs— rock strata  gleam in the rain
on the gallery wall below the calligraphy the child's footprint
a train whistle— your features shrink on the station wall
out the train window the night trees darker than the sky
only letting in the cat until the morning star
mountain thunder lightning between the stars
in prayer the blind man covers his eyes
after the snowplow the white line again
under the old car oil puddles ripple in the winter wind
the old doll her mama box broken to half a cry
the dead bird's wing flutters in the wind of passing cars
shaving her legs the razor nicks a mosquito bite
she smooths the uncreased pillow by her side
the child's orange balloon stopped by the ceiling
on the padlock snow melting

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. 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.

    missing you—
    the cry of the peacock
    in his pen

    Wonderful work.

    Alan, With Words

  2. Sublime. It is as tho’ Chiyo-ni has returned to us…Harter-san’s haiku are magical and profound. I am a big fan.


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