W.Va. Poet Laureate to deliver address

WEST LIBERTY – West Virginia’s Poet Laureate Marc Harshman will be the principal speaker and receive an honorary degree at West Liberty University’s 2014 Commencement exercises May 10.

The ceremonies begin at 11 a.m. and take place in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex.

“We are looking forward to hearing what Marc has to say to our graduates. As an accomplished writer and poet who has spent many years in our region, we know that he will inspire and delight both our graduates and guests,” said West Liberty University President Robin C. Capehart.

Harshman has entitled his address, “May You Have A Story To Tell.”

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin named Harshman the state poet laureate on May 18, 2012. Harshman is the ninth person to serve as poet laureate since the position was established by the Legislature in 1927.

A native of Randolph County, Ind., Harshman began to write as a high school student and published his first poem while a student at Yale.

His full-length collection, “Green-Silver and Silent,” was recently published and his fourth chapbook, “All that Feeds Us: The West Virginia Poems,” came out from Quarrier Press last year.

Periodical publications include Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, The Progressive, Appalachian Heritage and the Roanoke Review.

Harshman’s poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia and the University of Arizona. His 11 children’s books include “The Storm,” a Smithsonian Notable Book.

His children’s titles have also been published in Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Danish and Swedish. Harshman has three new children’s books forthcoming, as well as a new edition of “A Song for West Virginia,” his poem celebrating the state’s sesquicentennial.

Harshman taught for many years, first at the college level and then in grade schools. For a time he taught fifth and sixth grade at Sand Hill School in Marshall County, one of the last three-room schools in the state. He continues to visit schools and present workshops about writing.

He holds degrees from Bethany College, Yale University Divinity School and the University of Pittsburgh.

Harshman is married to West Liberty University Library Director Cheryl Ryan Harshman and resides in Wheeling.