Sellwood-based Poet Jerry Harp has just published his third book of verse, 'Urban Flowers, Concrete Plains' (Salt Publishing, Cambridge, UK).
His second collection, 'Gatherings' (Ashland Poetry Press, Ohio), was a co-winner of the 2004 Robert McGovern Publication Prize, and is displayed at Wallace Books in Westmoreland. Harp is also working on 2 other books, one on Renaissance Literature and the other a study of the poetry of Donald Justice, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980.
Harp grew up in the Midwest, and earned his PhD from the University of Iowa in 2002. He has taught at high schools and prep schools, but currently teaches English at Lewis and Clark College. His hobbies include running, reading, and discovering new places in Portland.
A quiet and spiritual man, Harp enjoys contemplative writing, and feels that as humans we need to learn 'to be present in our experiences and our reflections.' He has published poetry in various magazines for twenty years, and his reviews appear regularly in the magazines Pleiades and Delmar. This year, along with Jan Weissmiller, he co-edited 'A Poetry Criticism Reader' (University of Iowa Press).
In many of his poems, Harp thoughtfully explores Man's role as a creature who tries to determine his role and purpose in the world. These 'Creature' poems occur in his first and third poetry collections. 'Gatherings', however, focused on a more eclectic range of verse. These poems invite the reader to accompany the poet around the world and through the centuries to focus on the rich, sometimes haunting images of meaning and being. In 'Gatherings', the Sellwood poet addressed our world with 'a clear eye and a musical pen, exploring universal themes from unique viewpoints', in the words of one critic.
Harp's work has been called playful, brilliant, wistful, and highly original. His evocative descriptions, technical expertise, and thoughtful evaluation of the human condition invite our interest and our wonder, and his latest collection continues that tradition.