West Virginia’s Poet Laureate Marc Harshman will share his talents in two public events for the Davis & Elkins College Writers’ Series, Tuesday, March 28 and Wednesday, March 29. Harshman’s second presentation will be among activities highlighting the weeklong inaugural celebration of the College’s 15th President Chris A. Wood.On March 28, Harshman will lead a workshop beginning at 4 p.m. in Booth Library. Presented by the D&E English Department, the workshop will offer prompts for writers as Harshman engages participants to expand their creative energies. There is no fee to attend.
On March 29, Harshman will present a public reading and book signing at 7 p.m. in Myles Center for the Arts. As part of the inaugural activities, the day is designated as Celebrate D&E’s Academics.
Harshman was appointed the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia by former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in 2012 in recognition of his work in poetry and children’s literature.
Raised in Indiana, Harshman has spent his adult life in West Virginia and for many years taught fifth and sixth grades at Sand Hill Elementary School in Dallas, W.Va.
He has authored 13 picture books for children, two of which of received national recognition. “Only One,” Cobblehill Books, 1993, was a Reading Rainbow review title on PBS TV and “The Storm,” Dutton Juvenile, 1995, was a Junior Library Guild selection, a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children, a Children’s Book Council Notable Book for Social Studies and a 1995 Parent’s Choice Award recipient.
Harshman’s newest children’s book is “One Big Family” (illustrated by Sara Palacios), Eerdmans, 2016. His 14th children’s title, “Fallingwater,” co-written with Anna Smucker, about Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic house, is forthcoming from Roaring Brook/Macmillan this year.
Also a poet and storyteller, Harshman hosts and curates “The Poetry Break,” a podcast on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
His poetry reflects on bonds between individuals, families and communities, and the past and present. Harshman’s second full-length collection of poetry, “Believe What You Can,” was published in August by the Vandalia Press of West Virginia University. His collection, “Green-Silver and Silent Poems,” Bottom Dog Press, 2012, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Weatherford Award. His additional works in poetry include “All That Feeds Us: The West Virginia Poems,” Quarrier Press, 2013; “Local Journeys,” Finishing Line Press, 2004; and “Rose of Sharon,” Mad River Press, 1999.
Harshman has received additional accolades for his work. In 2008, he received the West Virginia Arts Commission Fellowship in Children’s Literature and the West Virginia Arts Commission Fellowship in Poetry in 2000. He was also named the West Virginia state English teacher of the year by the West Virginia English Language Arts Council in 1995 and received the Ezra Jack Keats / Kerlan Collection Fellowship from the University of Minnesota for research on Scandinavian myth and folklore in 1994.
He holds degrees from Bethany College, Yale University Divinity School and the University of Pittsburgh. He has also recently received honorary doctorates from Bethany College and West Liberty University in recognition of his life’s work.
Harshman lives in Wheeling, W.Va., with his wife, Cheryl Ryan, an artist and director of the Elbin Library at West Liberty University.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.