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Penny Harter

Penny Harter

Born: April 09 1940 in New York City New York, USA
Resides: Mays Landing, New Jersey, USA
E-mail: penhart (at) 2hweb (dot) net

Poet and fiction writer Penny Harter graduated from Douglass College of Rutgers University and for many years taught high school English in New Jersey and New Mexico. She visited schools as a writer-in-residence and works as a teaching artist for the New Jersey Writers Project, conducting workshops in New Jersey schools. She helped launch New Jersey high schools' participation in "Poetry Out Loud," a program co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Previously married and divorced, she met her second husband, poet, critic, and translator, William J. Higginson, through the New Jersey Poets in the Schools program. In 1980, she married Bill and lived with him in Fanwood and Scotch Plains, New Jersey; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Summit, New Jersey, until his death in 2008. Harter has presented readings, talks, and workshops from coast to coast at venues such as the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festivals, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Border Book Festivals, Haiku North America Conferences, the Rocky Mountain Land Library, the Colorado Mountain Club, the Sierra Club, New Jersey Teen Arts Festivals, the New Jersey Reading Association, the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools, and at events in Japan. Numerous anthologies and magazines worldwide have published Harter's work, including X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia's An Introduction to Poetry (various publishers, 1990 onward); Journey to the Interior: American Versions of Haibun [Bruce Ross, Editor] (Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle, Inc., 1998); Global Haiku: Twenty-five Poets World-wide (Mosaic Press, 2000); Sisters of the Earth: Women's Poetry and Prose About Nature (Vintage Books, 2003); American Nature Writing 2003 (Fulcrum); The Unswept Path (White Pine Press, 2005), The Poets of New Jersey (Bay Head, New Jersey: Jersey Shore Publications, 2005); Come Together: Imagine Peace (Huron, Ohio: Bottom Dog Press, 2008); Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude (Duluth, Minnesota: Holy Cow Press, 2009); Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer's Disease (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2009); Modern Haibun & Tanka Prose, Issues 1 and 2 (Baltimore, Maryland: Modern English Haiku Press, 2009); and Not A Muse: A World Poetry Anthology, (Rogers, Kate and Viki Holmes, Editors, Haven Books, Hong Kong: 2009). The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku, written in 1985 with her late husband, William J. Higginson, remains a classic and will be released in 2010 in a 25th Anniversary edition.

Awards and Other Honors: [incomplete]  Harter has received numerous awards, honors, and fellowships throughout her career as a writer and teacher, including fellowships and awards from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Mary Carolyn Davies Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. She was named the first recipient of the William O. Douglas Nature Writing Award for her poems in American Nature Writing 2002. Harter was invited to write an autobiographical essay for Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series (vol. 28, 1998), which also appears in Contemporary Authors (vol. 172, 1999). Her biography appears in several who's-whos related to teaching and writing, and in Marquis' Who's Who of American Women and Who's Who in the West. She has also won prizes and honorable mentions in the Haiku Society of America's Harold G. Henderson contest and the Haiku North America 1999 contest. In addition, she was awarded First Runner-Up in the Valentine Awards from The Heron's Nest.

Books Published: [incomplete] House By the Sea (From Here Press, Paterson, New Jersey: 1975); The Orange Balloon (From Here Press, Fanwood, New Jersey: 1980); White Flowers in the Snow (New Rivers Press, St. Paul, Minnesota: 1981); Lovepoems (Old Plate Press, Fanwood, New Jersey: 1981); From the Willow (Wind Chimes Press, Glen Burnie, Maryland: 1983); Hiking the Crevasse (Warthog Press, West Orange, New Jersey: 1983); In the Broken Curve (Burnt Lake Press, Sherbrooke, Quebec: 1984); The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku [with William J. Higginson] (McGraw-Hill, 1985; Kodansha International, 1989; Kodansha International; 25th Anniversary Edition, March 1, 2010); The Price of Admission (From Here Press, Fanwood, New Jersey: 1986); The Monkey's Face (From Here Press, NJ, 1989); Met on the Road: A Transcontinental haiku Journal [with William J. Higginson] (Foster City, California, 1993); Stages and Views (Katydid Books, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1994); Shadow Play: Night Haiku (Illustrated by Jeffrey, Greene Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York City, 1994); Grandmother's Milk (Singular Speech Press, Canton, Connecticut, 1995); Turtle Blessing (LaAlameda Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1996); Lizard Light: Poems from the Earth (Sherman Asher Publishing, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1998); Buried in the Sky (La Alameda Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2001); Along River Road (Summit, New Jersey, From Here Press, 2005);  Summer Surgery/Waiting (Higginson/Harter, From Here Press, Summit, New Jersey: 2005); The Night Marsh (WordTech Editions, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2008); Spray of Dogwood (From Here Press, Summit, New Jersey: 2007); The Beastie Book (Shenanigan Books, Summit, New Jersey: 2009); Recycling Starlight [a cycle of grief poems written during the year after her husband William J. Higginson's death, is forthcoming from Mountains and Rivers Press, Eugene, Oregon: 2010). Her essays on teaching writing appear in The Teachers and Writers Guide to William Carlos Williams (New York, NY: Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 1998); The Alphabet of the Trees: A Guide to Nature Writing (New York, NY: Teachers & Writers Collaborative,2000); The Teachers and Writers Guide to Classic American Literature (New York, NY: 2001); and An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art (University of Michigan, 2002). In addition to the poems in her illustrated books for young readers [The Beastie Book: An Alphabestiary of Imaginary Animals and Shadow Play], others of Harter's poems for young people appear in I Feel a Little Jumpy Around You (Simon & Schuster, 1996); Welcome to Your Life: Writings for the Heart of Young America (Milkweed Editions, 1998); Knock at a Star: A Child's Introduction to Poetry (Little Brown, 1999); Stone Bench in an Empty Park (Orchard Books, 2000); A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms (Candlewick Press, 2005), and Hey You: Poems of Address (Harper Collins, 2006).

Selected Work
 
evening rain
I braid my hair
into the dark
 
pine needles
in the broken curve
of the ornament
 
 
 
all night
the sound of your breathing
the autumn wind
 
distant thunder--
overhead a satellite
moves in the dark
 
 
 
after love
she traces the ferns
in the window’s frost
 
Broken bowl,
The pieces
still rocking
 
 

Credits: "evening rain" - Runner-up, Haiku North America Haiku Contest (1999); The Heron's Nest II:4 (2000); First Runner-up/Readers' Choice, The Heron's Nest Awards (2001); The Unswept Path: Contemporary American Haiku [ed., John Brandi and Dennis Maloney; Preface by William J. Higginson] (White Pine Press, Buffalo, New York: 2005); "all night" - Harter, The Monkey's Face (From Here Press, NJ, 1989); Ross, Haiku Moment (1993); The Unswept Path: Contemporary American Haiku [ed., John Brandi and Dennis Maloney; Preface by William J. Higginson] (White Pine Press, Buffalo, New York: 2005); "after love" - Tracing the Fern [The 2005 Haiku North America Anthology, ed., Welch and Wilson] (2005); Modern Haiku 37:2 (2006); The Haiku Calendar 2007 (Snapshot Press, 2006); "pine needles" - Harter, In the Broken Curve (Burnt Lake Press, Sherbrooke, Quebec: 1984); van den Heuvel, The Haiku Anthology 2 (Simon & Schuster, New York: 1986); van den Heuvel, The Haiku Anthology 3 (W. W. Norton & Company, New York: 1999); "distant thunder" - Harter, The Monkey's Face (From Here Press, NJ, 1989); Frogpond 21:2 (1998); the thin curve: The Red Moon Anthology 1999 (Red Moon Press, 2000); The Unswept Path: Contemporary American Haiku [ed., John Brandi and Dennis Maloney; Preface by William J. Higginson] (White Pine Press, Buffalo, New York: 2005); "Broken bowl" - Harter, In the Broken Curve (Burnt Lake Press, Sherbrooke, Quebec: 1984); van den Heuvel, The Haiku Anthology 2 (Simon & Schuster,New York: 1986); Still 2:1 (1998); van den Heuvel, The Haiku Anthology 3 (W. W. Norton & Company, New York: 1999); Kennedy/Gioia, Introduction to Poetry (Longman, 12th edition 2006).

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