autumn 2011

A popular restaurant south of Ogunquit, Maine.

Guest Poet: Penny Harter

We’ve had Penny Harter on our prospective guest list for years, hoping that we could arrange to have her present at Tai Pan when her guest poems were presented. When this proved impractical, we decided to wait no longer. Of course, she has a rain check, as do all of our guest poets, to share a meal with us whenever she is in town. Penny Harter is, par excellence, an example of a poet very deeply engaged in both haiku and other forms that may be regarded as more “mainstream” in English literature. She read at the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival. She has received three poetry fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Mary Carolyn Davies Award from the Poetry Society of America, the William O. Douglas Nature Writing Award, and a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts for a residency during January, 2011. She is also the co-author of The Haiku Handbook (with her late husband, Bill Higginson), a seminal text for the English-language genre. She has been a poet for her entire life, interested in any way in which poetry can enrich and illuminate.

On September 20th I took part in a reception at the United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York honoring Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, former Prime Minister of Belgium, current President of the European Council, and haiku poet. He was in New York for UN General Assembly Week and stopped at UNIS in order to learn about the United Nations Student Haiku Contest, an annual event sponsored by the Japanese Mission to the United Nations. Since I have been the judge for the English-language divisions for the past five years, I was invited to speak about the contest and to meet Mr. Van Rompuy. We exchanged books and I presented him, among other titles, with a copy of the tenth anniversary issue of Upstate Dim Sum.

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                                                           Sample Poems

clearing sky –
in my dream, the river
at flood stage
                     Penny Harter 

gift book –
wishing I’d asked
for his signature
ht 

summer sky
the one planet
we know has life
js 

just right
the opening
of Orion’s belt
tc 

home safe
the cat
against my leg
yc