Charlotte author’s book of poems tells horse stories of her youth

Kathleen McKinley Harris

Adorned with artwork from Stowe painter Douglas Scribner, the slim-bound volume of Charlotte author Kathleen McKinley Harris’ equestrian poetry is making its way to independent bookstores in the community.

Flying Pig and Hopkins bookstores in Shelburne are first, but the soft-spoken former school teacher beams at the challenge of getting her work into the hands of readers who will connect with her childhood stories told in verse.

Kentucky-based Finishing Line Press has just published “Earth Striders,” her 31-page collection of poems set mostly in Lamoille County in Hyde Park or Stowe.

While this is Harris’ first book of poems, she is not a stranger to the publishing world. In 1988, William Morrow, Jr. published her children’s picture book, “The Wonderful Hay Tumble.” In 1999, her poem “Bear Fear” won the Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. Literary Award. Harris said her first published poem appeared in Snowy Egret in 1997.

A graduate of Middlebury College, Harris has a master’s in English from Case Western Reserve University; she has attended the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference and the Vermont Studio Center. She and her husband Everett have lived in Charlotte since 1979 where they raised their daughters who were members of the Charlotte Pony Club.

Harris’ poetry has been published in a variety of literary journals including Vermont Ink, The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Bulletin, Vermont Life, and PoemCity.

Prior to her work as a writer and editor, Harris spent years teaching from kindergarten in Pierpont, Ohio, to college fiction and poetry at the University of Illinois in Urbana.

In Vermont, she taught high school English and history at Morrisville’s Peoples Academy and at Hyde Park’s Lamoille Union.

For several years, she co-published and edited The Champlain Courier, an every-other-week newspaper covering Charlotte, Ferrisburgh, and Vergennes and in 2003 she edited the memoir by Craig Burt, “We Lived in Stowe.”

Harris presently edits the quarterly Chittenden County Historical Society Bulletin, and was copy editor of the Vermont Farm Bureau quarterly, Vermont Fences. Her memberships include various literary and historical societies including the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Poetry Society of Vermont, and the Vermont, Chittenden County and Charlotte historical societies.

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