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My Brilliant Destiny and Other

(Poetry) 2023

Part memoir, part manifesto, part log of epiphanies, My Brilliant Destiny is a work of exquisite beauty and originality which challenges the reader’s intellect and imagination on multiple levels. Using a unique poetic invention, he calls “zippers”, Harder tells the story of a young man’s travels to one of the least traveled parts of the (almost) South of France. Within a short period of time, he forms a relationship

with a family that will challenge his understanding of love, compassion, and sanity.


“Zipper” poems are composed of three distinct parts: a poetic line on the left, another indented poetic line to the right, and the final poem with both left and right. lines “zipped” together to create an evocative, unpredictably meaningful whole.

A Child’s California

(Non-fiction, children’s book) Westwind Press, Portland OR, ed. Tricia Brown, 2000

Where can you find the hottest place, the coldest place, the highest place, and the lowest place in the contiguous United States?  Where can you go surfing, snow-boarding, and desert-trekking, all within a few hours of one another? Where are there more different kinds of plants and animals than in any other place in the country? If you guessed “California” you’d be right. This collaborative effort from author Dan Harder and photographer Lawrence Migdale explores, from a child’s perspective, the fantastic land of contrasts that is California.  

San Francisco Points of View

(Essays for a photo/essay book) Graphic Arts Center Publishing, Portland, OR, ed. Doug Pfeiffer 1996

From a sleepy outpost to a bustling gateway city, San Francisco has grown in less than 150 years to become one of the most important commercial and cultural centers in the world.  This splendid photographic tribute to America’s favorite city explores the grand and familiar icons of San Francisco as well as the intimate details that distinguish it so dramatically from the other cosmopolitan cities of the world.  Complementing the superb photographs by David Wakely are essays by Dan Harder, which reflect this incomparable city’s past and present with insight, intelligence, and love.

Rancho de Amor

(Novel) West Margin Press, Berkeley, CA, ed. Jennifer Newens and Olivia Gnai, 2020

Had Jane Austen and Zane Gray come together to write a book, this might very well be the result.  “Rancho De Amor” is a funny, adventurous, and romantic story of a smart New York book editor who is sent out to the wild West to find Loretta de Bonnair, the aging, reclusive author of an extremely successful first novel.  What she discovers is not what she’d expected to discovery – about Loretta, about the west, and about herself.

"Romance, roadkill, and wicked wit—" 

--Yves Fey, Floats the Dark Shadow


"Dan Harder’s Rancho de Amor turns a beguiling mystery about a romance novel into a warm and witty tale of finding love in some very unexpected places.  Ingeniously devised and deftly plotted, it unfolds on a richly evoked Central California Coast of vineyards and cattle ranches, in a small town full of charming characters.  As the lovers stumble over each other and themselves, this book-with-in-book offers another kind of happy outcome – a reader’s delight in being swept away by a good story.

--Steven Winn, former Arts and Culture Critic, San Francisco Chronicle, and frequent host of City Arts and Lectures


Colliding with Chris

(Fiction, Children’s book) Hyperion Books for Children – a book imprint of Disney NY, NY, e. Howard Reeves 1998

An innocent bike ride turns into a hilarious obstacle course for Chris, who has not yet learned the most important skill involved in biking:  braking!  As his bike races out of control Chris manages to collide with plants, trees, animals and even some unsuspecting band members.


(Text for a photo/essay book) Graphic Arts Center Publishing, Portland, OR, ed. Doug Pfeiffer 1992

For everyone who has ever been to France – or wanted to visit, the photographs of Russell Lamb and the words of Dan Harder will evoke feelings of romance and nostalgia, the delight of revisiting old friends and meeting new ones, and the joy of immersing one’s self in the stunning photography and descriptions of France, one of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the world.

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